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The Sage Digital Library 

Select Library 

of 

The Nicene and 

Post-Nicene Fathers 

of 

The Christian Church 

SECOND SERIES 

Under the Editorial Supervision of 

Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. and Henry Wace, D.D., 

Proiessor of Chinch Histoiy in the Proiessor of King's 

Union Theological Seminary, New York. College, London. 



VOLUME 5 

Gregory of Nyssa 

Dogmatic Treatises, etc. 



New York Christian Literature Company 1890-1900 
riajjUj^ Digital Hublifortigns 




3 

EDITOR'S PREFACE 



These translations from the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa have unusual 
labor, which the Editor hopes will be accepted as a sufficient apology for 
the delay of the volume. The difficulty has been extreme of conveying 
with correctness in English the meaning of expressions and arguments 
which depend on some of the most subtle ideas of Greek philosophy and 
theology; and, in addition to the thanks due to the translators, the Editor 
must offer a special acknowledgment of the invaluable help he has received 
from the exact and philosophical scholarship of the Rev. J. H. Lupton, 
Surmaster of St. Paul's School. He must renew to Mr. Lupton, with 
increased earnestness, the expression of gratitude he had already had 
occasion to offer in issuing the Translation of St. Athanasius. From the 
careful and minute revision which the volume has thus undergone, the 
Editor ventures to entertain some hope that the writings of this important 
and interesting Father are in this volume introduced to the English reader in 
a manner which will enable him to obtain a fair conception of their meaning 
and value. 

HENRY WACE 

King's College, London, 6th November, 1893 



SELECT WRITINGS AND LETTERS 

OF 

GREGORY, BISHOP OF NYSSA 



TRANSLATED, WITH PROLEGOMENA, NOTES, AND INDICES, 

BY 

WILLIAM MOORE, M.A 

RECTOR OF APPLETON, 
LAW FELLOW OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD; 

AND 

HENRY AUSTIN WILSON, M.A 

FELLOW AND LIBRARIAN OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE. OXFORD. 



PREFACE 



That none of the Treatises of S. Gregory of Nyssa have hitherto been 
translated into English, or even (with one exception long ago) into French, 
may be partly due to the imperfections, both in number and quality, of the 
MSS., and by consequence of the Editions, of the great majority of them. 
The state of the MSS., again, may be owing to the suspicion diligently 
fostered by the zealous friends of the reputation of this Father, in ages 
when MSS. could and should have been multiplied and preserved, that 
there were large importations into his writings from the hands of the 
Origenists-a statement which a very short study of Gregory, whose 
thought is always taking the direction of Origen, would disprove. 

This suspicion, while it resulted in throwing doubts upon the genuineness 
of the entire text, has so far deprived the current literature of the Church of 
a great treasure. For there are two qualities in this Gregory's writings not 
to be found in the same degree in any other Greek teacher, namely, a 
far-reaching use of philosophical speculation (quite apart from allegory) in 
bringing out the full meaning of Church doctrines, and Bible truths; and 
excellence of style. With regard to this last, he himself bitterly deplored 
the days which he had wasted over the study of style; but we at all events 
need not share that regret, if only for this reason, that his writings thereby 
show that patristic Greek could rise to the level of the best of its time. It is 
not necessarily the thing which it is, too easily, even in other instances, 
assumed to be. Granted the prolonged decadence of the language, yet 
perfects are not aorists, nor aorists perfects, the middle is a middle, there 
are classical constructions of the participle, the particles of transition and 
prepositions in composition have their full force in Athanasius; much 
more in Basil; much more in Gregory. It obscures facts to say that there 
was good Greek only in the age of Thucydides. There was good and bad 
Greek of its kind, in every epoch, as long as Greek was living. So far for 
mere syntax. As for adequacy of language, the far wider range of his 
subject-matter puts Gregory of Nyssa to a severer test; but he does not 
fail under it. What could be more dignified than his letter to Flavian, or 
more choice than his description of the spring, or more richly illustrated 
than his praises of Contemplation, or more pathetic than his pleading for 



the poor? It would have been strange indeed if the Greek language had not 
possessed a Jerome of its own, to make it speak the new monastic 
devotion. 

But the labors of J. A. Krabinger, F. Oehler, and G. H. Forbes upon the 
text, though all abruptly ended, have helped to repair the neglect of the 
past. They in this century, as the scholars of Paris, Ghent, and Basle, 
though each working with fewer or more imperfect MSS., in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth, have been better friends to Gregory than those who 
wrote books in the sixth to defend his orthodoxy, but to depreciate his 
writings. In this century, too, Cardinal Mai has rescued still more from 
oblivion in the Vatican-a slight compensation for all the materials collected 
for a Benedictine edition of Gregory, but dispersed in the French 
Revolution. 

The longest Treatise here translated is that Against Eunomius in 13 Books. 
The reproduction of so much ineffectual fencing in logic over a question 
which no longer can trouble the Church might be taken exception to. But 
should men like Gregory and Basil, pleading for the spirit and for faith 
and. for mystery against the conclusions of a hard logician, be an 
indifferent spectacle to us? The interest, too, in the contest deepens when 
we know that their opponent not only proclaimed himself, but was 
accepted, as a martyr to the Anomcean cause; and that he had large 
congregations to the very end. The moral force of Arianism was stronger 
than ever as its end drew near in the East, because the Homoeans were 
broken up and there was no more complicity with the court and politics- 
It was represented by a man who had suffered and had made no 
compromises; and so the life-long work, previous to his, of Valens the 
bishop at last bore fruit in conversions; and the Anomcean teaching came 
to a head in the easily understood formula that the 'Ayevvr|aioc was the 
essence of the Father-an idea which in the Dated Creed Valens had 
repudiated. 

What, then, was to be done? Eunomius seemed by his parade of logic to 
have dug a gulf for ever between the Ungenerate and the Generate, in other 
words between the Father and the Son. The merit and interest of this 
Treatise of Gregory consists in showing this logician as making endless 
mistakes in his logic; and then, that anything short of the " eternal 



generation " involved unspeakable absurdities or profanities; and lastly, 
that Lunomius was fighting by means of distinctions which were the mere 
result of mental analysis. Already, we see, there was floating in the air the 
Conceptualism and Realism of the Middle Ages, invoked for this last 
Arian controversy. When Eunomius retorted that this faculty of analysis 
cannot give the name of God, and calls his opponents atheists for not 
recognizing the more than human source of the term 'AyevvTycoc; the last 
word of Nicene orthodoxy has to be uttered; and it is, that God is really 
incomprehensible, and that here we can never know His name. 

This should have led to a statement of the claims of the Sacraments as 
placing us in heart and spirit, but not in mind, in communion with this 
incomprehensible God. But this would have been useless with such 
opponents as the Eunomians. Accuracy of doctrine and clearness of 
statement was to them salvation; mysteries were worse than nothing. 
Only in the intervals of the logical battle, and for the sake of the faithful, 
does Gregory recur to those moral and spiritual attributes which a true 
Christianity has revealed in the Deity, and upon which the doctrine of the 
Sacraments is built. 

Such controversies are repeated now; i. e. where truths, which it requires a 
certain state of the affections to understand, should be urged, but cannot 
be, on the one side; and truths which are logical, or literary, or scientific 
only, are ranged on the other side; as an instance, though in another field, 
the arguments for and against the results of the "higher criticism" of the 
Old Testament exhibit this irreconcilable attitude. 

Yet in one respect a great gain must have at once resulted to the Catholic 
cause from this long work. The counter opposition of Created and 
Uncreate, with which Gregory met the opposition of Generate and 
Ungenerate, and which, unlike the latter, is a dichotomy founded on an 
essential difference, must have helped many minds, distracted with the 
jargon of Arianism, to see more clearly the preciousness of the Baptismal 
Formula, as the casket which contains the Faith. Indeed, the life-work of 
Gregory was to defend this Formula. 

The Treatise On Virginity is probably the work of his youth; but none the 
less Christian for that. Here is done what students of Plato had doubtless 
long been asking for, i e. that his "love of the Beautiful" should be 



spiritualized. Beginning with a bitter accusation of marriage, Gregory 
leaves the reader doubtful in the end whether celibacy is necessary or not 
for the contemplative life; so absorbed he becomes in the task of showing 
the blessedness of those who look to the source of all visible beauty. But 
the result of this seeing is not, as in Plato, a mere enlightenment as to the 
real value of these visible things. There are so many more beautiful things 
in God than Plato saw; the Christian revelation has infinitely enriched the 
field of contemplation; and the lover of the beautiful now must be a higher 
character, and have a more chastened heart, not only be a more favored 
child of light, than others. His enthusiasm shall be as strong as ever; but 
the model is higher now; and even an Aristotelian balance of moral 
extremes is necessary to guide him to the goal of a successful Imitation. 

It was right, too, that the Church should possess her Phoedo, or 
Death-bed Dialogue; and it is Gregory who has supplied this in his On the 
Soul and the Resurrection. But the copy becomes an original. The dialogue 
is between a sister and a brother; the one a saintly Apologist, the other, for 
argument's sake, a gainsayer, who urges all the pleas of Greek materialism. 
Not only the immortality of the soul is discussed, but an exact definition 
of it is sought, and that in the light of a truer psychology than Plato's. His 
"chariot" is given up; sensation, as the basis of all thought, is freely 
recognized; and yet the passions are firmly separated from the actual 
essence of the soul; further, the "coats of skins" of fallen humanity, as 
symbolizing the wrong use of the passions, take the place of the 
"sea- weed "on the statue of Glaucus. The grasp of the Christian 
philosopher of the traits of a perfect humanity, so conspicuous in his 
Making of Man, give him an advantage here over the pagan. As for the 
Resurrection of the flesh, it was a novel stroke to bring the beliefs of 
Empedocles, Pythagoras, Plato, and the later Platonists, into one focus as 
it were, and to show that the teaching of those philosophers as to the 
destinies of the soul recognized the possibility, or even the necessity, of 
the reassumption of some body. Grotesque objections to the Christian 
Resurrection, such as are urged nowadays, are brought forward and 
answered in this Treatise. 

The appeal to the Savior, as to the Inspiration of the Old. Testament, has 
raised again a discussion as to the Two Natures; and will probably 
continue to do so. But before the subject of the "communication of 



attributes" can be entered upon, we must remember that Christ's mere 
humanity (as has been lately pointed out) is, to begin with, sinless. He 
was perfect man. What the attributes of a perfect, as contrasted with a 
fallen, humanity are, it is not given except by inference to know; but no 
Father has discussed this subject of Adam's nature more fully than 
Gregory, in his treatise On the Making of Man. 

The reasons for classing the Great Catechism as an Apologetic are given in 
the Prolegomena: here from first to last Gregory shows himself a genuine 
pupil of Origen. The plan of Revelation is made to rest on man's free-will; 
every objection to it is answered by the fact of this freewill. This plan is 
unfolded so as to cover the whole of human history; the beginning, the 
middle, and the end are linked, in the exposition, indissolubly together. 
The Incarnation is the turning point of history; and yet, beyond this, its 
effects are for all Creation. Who made this theology? Origen doubtless; and 
his philosophy of Scripture, based on a few leading texts, became, one 
point excepted, the property of the Church: she at last possessed a 
Theodicee that borrowed nothing from Greek ideas. So far, then, every one 
who used it was an Origenist: and yet Gregory alone has suffered from 
this charge. In using this Theodicee he has in some points surpassed his 
master, i. c. in showing in details the skillfulness (aocpioc) which effected 
the "touching" of humanity; and how the "touched" soul and the 
"touched" body shall follow in the path of the Redeemer's Resurrection. 

To the many points of modern interest in this Gregory should be added 
his eschatology, which occupies a large share of his thoughts. On Infants' 
Early Deaths is a witness of this. In fact, when not occupied in defending, 
on one side or another, the Baptismal Formula, he is absorbed in 
eschatology. He dwells continually on the agonizing and refining processes 
of Purgatory. But to claim him as one who favors the doctrine of "Eternal 
Hope" in a universal sense is hardly possible, when we consider the 
passage in On the Soul and the Resurrection where he speaks of a Last 
Judgment as coming after the Resurrection and Purgatory. 

So much has been said in a Preface, in order to show that this Volume is a 
step at least towards reinstating a most interesting writer, doubtless one of 
the most highly educated of his time, and, let it be observed as well, a 



10 

canonized saint (for, more fortunate than his works, he was never branded 
as a heretic), in his true position. 

In a first English translation of Treatises and Letters most of which 
(notably the books against Eunomius) have never been illustrated by a 
single translator's note, and by but a handful of scholia, a few passages 
remain, which from the obscurity of their allusion, local or historical, are 
unexplained. In others the finest shades of meaning in one Greek word, 
insisted on in some argument, but which the best English equivalent fails 
to represent, cause the appearance of obscurity. But, throughout, the 
utmost dearness possible without unduly straining the literal meaning has 
been aimed at; and in passages too numerous to name, most grateful 
acknowledgment is here made of the invaluable suggestions of the Rev. J. 
H. Lupton. 

It is hoped that the Index of Subjects will be of use, in lieu of an analysis, 
where an analysis has not been provided. The Index of Tests, all of which 
have been strictly verified, while it will be found to prove Gregory's 
thorough knowledge of Scripture (noth withstanding his somewhat 
classical training), does not attempt to distinguish between citation and 
reminiscence; care, however, has been taken that the reminiscence should 
be undoubted. 

The Index of Greek words (as also the quotations in foot-notes of striking 
sentences) has been provided for those interested in the study of later 
Greek. 

W.M. 

July, 1892. 



11 

CONTENTS OF VOLUME V 

PREFACE 

Prolegomena: 

Chapter I. A Sketch of the Life of Gregory 

II. His general Character as a Theologian. 

III. His Origenism. 

IV. His Teaching on the Holy Trinity (by Rev. H. A. Wilson) 
V. MSS. and Editions. 

I. Dogmatic Treatises: 

Against Eunomius. Book I. Translation with Notes. 

Note on 'Ayevvrixot; 

Book II. Rev. H. C. Ogle's translation revised, with 
Notes, by Rev. H. A. Wilson. 

Books III-IX. Translation with Notes by Rev. H. 
A. Wilson. 

Books X-XII. Rev. H. C. Ogle's translation 

revised, with Notes, by Rev. H. A. Wilson 
Note on E7tivoioc 

Answer to Eunomius' Second Book. Translation by Rev. M. Day, 
completed and revised, with notes. 

On the Holy Spirit against Macedonius. A Fragment. Translation with 
Notes 

On the Holy Trinity. \ 

On "Not three Gods." > Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 

On the Faith. / 



12 

n. Ascetic And Moral : 

On Virginity. Translation with Notes 
On Infants' Early Deaths. Translation with Notes 
On Pilgrimages. Translation with Notes 

III. Philosophical: 

On the Making of Man. Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 

On the Soul and the Resurrection. Analysis, Translation and Notes 

IV. Apologetic: 

The Great Catechism. Summary, Translation and Notes 

V. Oratorical: 

On Meletius. Translation with Notes 

On the Baptism of Christ: A Sermon. Translation with Notes by 
Rev. H. A. Wilson 

VI. LETTERS. Translation with Notes 



1. To Eusebius. 


Rev. 


H. C 


. Ogle's 


translation 


2. To the City Sebasteia 






do. 




3. To Ablabius. 






do. 




4. To Cynegius. 






do. 




5. A Testimonial. 






do. 




6. To Stagirius. 






do. 




7. To a Frielld. 






do. 




8. To a Student of the Classics. 






do. 




9. An Invitation. 






do. 




Io. To Libanius. 






do. 




1 1. To Libanius. 






do 




12. On his Work against Eunomius. 






do. 




13. To the Church at Nicomedia. 






do. 




14. To the Bishop of Melitene. 






do. 




15. To Adel phius the Lawyer. 




By 


Rev. H. 


A. Wilson 


16. To Amphilochius. 






do. 




17. To Eustathia, Ambrosia, and Basi 


lissa. 


By 


Rev. W 


. Moore. 


18. To Flavian. 






do. 





Appendix. List Of Remaining Treatises And Editions 



13 



WORKS ON ANALYTICAL CRITICISM, HISTORY, 
AND BIBLIOGRAPHY, CONSULTED 

Rupp (Dr. Julius), Gregors des Bischofs von Nyssa Leben und 
Meinungen. Leipzig, 1834. 

Moller (E. W.) Gregori Nysseni doctrinam de hominis natura et illustravit 
et cum Origenian comparavit. Halle, 1854. 

Denys (J.), De la Philosophic d'Origene. Paris, 1884. 

Dorner (Dr. J. A.), Doctrine of the Person of Christ. Clark's English 
translation. Edinburgh. 

Heyns (S. P.), Disputatio Historico-Theologica de Gregorio Nysseno. 
Leyden, 1835. 

Alzog (Dr. J.), Handbuch d. Patrologie. 3rd ed. 1876. 

Ceillier (Remi), Histoire Generale des Auteurs Sacres et Ecclesiastiques. 
Paris, 1858 sqq. 

Tillemont (Louis Sebastien Le Nain De), Memoires pour servir a 1' Histoire 
Ecclesiastique des six premiers Siecles, Vol. IX. Paris, 1693-1712. 

Fabricius (J. A.), Bibliotheca Graeca. Hamburg, 1718-28. 

Prolegomena to the Paris edition of all Gregory's Works, with notes by 
Father Fronto Du Due, 1638. 

Cave (Dr. W.), Historia Literaria. London, 1688. (Oxford, 1740.) 

Du Pin (Dr. L. E.) Library of Ecclesiastical Authors. Paris, 1686. 

Fessler (Joseph), Institutiones Patrologiae: Dr. B. Jungmann's edition. 
Innsbruck, 1890. 



14 



DATES OF TREATISES, ETC., HERE TRANSLATED 

(Based on Heyns andRupp.) 

331. Gregory born. 

360. Letters x. xi. xv. 

361. Julian's edict. Gregory gives up rhetoric. 

362. Gregory in his brother's monastery. 

363. Letter vi. (probably). 

368. On Virginity. 

369. Gregory elected a Reader. 

372. Gregory elected Bishop of Nyssa early in this year. 

374. Gregory is exiled under Valens. 

375. On the Faith. On "Not three Gods. " 

376. Letters vii. xiv. On the Baptism of Christ. 

377. Against Macedonius . 

378. Gregory returns to his See. Letter Hi. 

379. On Pilgrimages . Letter ii. 

380. On the Soul and the Resurrection. 
On the Making of Man 

On the Holy Trinity. 

381. Gregory present at the Second Council. Oration on Melitius. 
382-3. Against Eunomius , Books I-XII. 

Letter to Eustathia. 

383. Present at Constantinople. Letter xii. 

384. Answer to Eunomius' Second Book 

385. The Great Catechism. 

386. Letter xiii. 
390. Letter iv. 

393. Letter to Flavian. 

394. Present for Synod at Constantinople 

395. On Infants' Early Deaths. 



15 

THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF 
GREGORY OF NYSSA 

CHAPTER 1 



A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF S. GREGORY OF NYSSA. 

In the roll of the Nicene Fathers there is no more honored name than that 
of Gregory of Nyssa. Besides the praises of his great brother Basil and of 
his equally great friend Gregory Nazianzen, the sanctity of his life, his 
theological learning, and his strenuous advocacy of the faith embodied in 
the Nicene clauses, have received the praises of Jerome, Socrates, 
Theodoret, and many other Christian writers. Indeed such was the 
estimation in which he was held that some did not hesitate to call him 'the 
Father of Fathers' as well as 'the Star of Nyssa.' 

Gregory of Nyssa was equally fortunate in his country, the name he bore, 
and the family which produced him. He was a native of Cappadocia, and 
was born most probably at Caesarea, the capital, about A.D. 335 or 336. 
No province of the Roman Empire had in those early ages received more 
eminent Christian bishops than Cappadocia and the adjoining district of 
Pontus. 

In the previous century the great prelate Firmilian, the disciple and friend 
of Origen, who visited him at his See, had held the Bishopric of Caesarea. 
In the same age another saint, Gregory Thaumaturgus, a friend also and 
disciple of Origen, was bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus. During the 
same century, too, no less than four other Gregories shed more or less 
luster on bishoprics in that country. The family of Gregory of Nyssa was 
one of considerable wealth and distinction, and one also conspicuously 
Christian. 



16 

During the Diocletian persecution his grandparents had fled for safety to 
the mountainous region of Pontus, where they endured great hardships and 
privations. It is said that his maternal grandfather, whose name is 
unknown, eventually lost both life and property. After a retirement of 
some few years the family appear to have returned and settled at Caesarea 
in Cappadocia, or else at Neo-Caesarea in Pontus, for there is some 
uncertainty in the account. 

Gregory's father, Basil, who gave his name to his eldest son, was known 
as a rhetorician. He died at a comparatively early age, leaving a family of 
ten children, five of whom were boys and five girls, under the care of their 
grandmother Macrina and mother Emmelia. Both of these illustrious ladies 
were distinguished for the earnestness and strictness of their Christian 
principles, to which the latter added the charm of great personal beauty. 

All the sons and daughters appear to have been of high character, but it is 
only of four sons and one daughter that we have any special record. The 
daughter, called Macrina, from her grandmother, was the angel in the house 
of this illustrious family. She shared with her grandmother and mother the 
care and education of all its younger members. Nor was there one of them 
who did not owe to her religious influence their settlement in the faith and 
consistency of Christian conduct. 

This admirable woman had been betrothed in early life, but her intended 
husband died of fever. She permitted herself to contract no other alliance, 
but regarded herself as still united to her betrothed in the other world. She 
devoted herself to a religious life, and eventually, with her mother 
Emmelia, established a female conventual society on the family-property 
in Pontus, at a place called Annesi, on the banks of the river Iris. 

It was owing to her persuasions that her brother Basil also gave up the 
worldly life, and retired to lead the devout life in a wild spot in the 
immediate neighborhood, of Annesi. Here for a while he was an hermit, 
and here he persuaded his friend Gregory Nazianzen to join him. They 
studied together the works of Origen, and published a selection of extracts 
from his Commentaries, which they called "Philocalia." By the suggestions 
of a friend Basil enlarged his idea, and converted his hermit's seclusion into 
a monastery, which eventually became the center of many others which 
sprung up in that district. 



17 

His inclination for the monastic life had been greatly influenced by his 
acquaintance with the Egyptian monks, who had impressed him with the 
value of their system as an aid to a life of religious devotion. He had 
visited also the hermit saints of Syria and Arabia, and learnt from them the 
practice of a severe asceticism, which both injured his health and shortened 
his days. 

Gregory of Nyssa was the third son, and one of the youngest of the 
family. He had an elder brother, Nectarius, who followed the profession of 
their father, and became rhetorician, and like him died early. He had also a 
younger brother, Peter, who became bishop of Sebaste. 

Besides the uncertainty as to the year and place of his birth it is not 
known where he received his education. From the weakness of his health 
and delicacy of his constitution, it was most probably at home. It is 
interesting, in the case of one so highly educated, to know who, in 
consequence of his father's early death, took charge of his merely 
intellectual bringing up: and his own words do not leave us in any doubt 
that, so far as he had a teacher, it was Basil, his senior by several years. He 
constantly speaks of him as the revered 'Master:' to take but one instance, 
he says in his Hexaemeron (ad ink.) that all that will be striking in that 
work will be due to Basil, what is inferior will be the 'pupil's.' Even in the 
matter of style, he says in a letter written in early life to Libanius that 
though he enjoyed his brother's society but a short time yet Basil was the 
author of his oratory (^6yot>): and it is safe to conclude that he was 
introduced to all that Athens had to teach, perhaps even to medicine, by 
Basil: for Basil had been at Athens. On the other hand we can have no 
difficulty in crediting his mother, of whom he always spoke with the 
tenderest affection, and his admirable sister Macrina, with the care of his 
religious teaching. Indeed few could be more fortunate than Gregory in the 
influences of home. If, as there is every reason to believe, the grandmother 
Macrina survived Gregory's early childhood, then, like Timothy, he was 
blest with the religious instruction of another Lois and Eunice. 

In this chain of female relationship it is difficult to say which link is 
worthier of note, grandmother, mother, or daughter. Of the first, Basil, 
who attributes his early religious impressions to his grandmother, tells us 
that as a child she taught him a Creed, which had been drawn up for the 



use of the Church of Neo-Caesarea by Gregory Thaumaturgus. This 
Creed, it is said, was revealed to the Saint in a vision. It has been translated 
by Bishop Bull in his "Fidei Nicaenae Defensio." In its language and spirit 
it anticipates the Creed of Constantinople. 

Certain it is that Gregory had not the benefit of a residence at Athens, or 
of foreign travel. It might have given him a strength of character and width 
of experience, in which he was certainly deficient. His shy and retiring 
disposition induced him to remain at home without choosing a profession, 
living on his share of the paternal property, and educating himself by a 
discipline of his own. 

He remained for years unbaptized. And this is a very noticeable 
circumstance which meets us in the lives of many eminent Saints and 
Bishops of the Church. They either delayed baptism themselves, or it was 
delayed for them. Indeed there are instances of Bishops baptized and 
consecrated the same day. 

Gregory's first inclination or impulse to make a public profession of 
Christianity is said to have been due to a remarkable dream or vision. 

His mother Emmelia, at her retreat at Annesi, urgently entreated him to be 
present and take part in a religious ceremony in honor of the Forty 
Christian Martyrs. He had gone unwillingly, and wearied with his journey 
and the length of the service, which lasted far into the night, he lay down 
and fell asleep in the garden. He dreamed that the Martyrs appeared to 
him and, reproaching him for his indifference, beat him with rods. On 
awaking he was filled with remorse, and hastened to amend his past 
neglect by earnest entreaties for mercy and forgiveness. Under the 
influence of the terror which his dream inspired he consented to undertake 
the office of reader in the Church, which of course implied a profession of 
Christianity. But some unfitness, and, perhaps, that love of eloquence 
which clung to him to the last, soon led him to give up the office, and 
adopt the profession of a rhetorician or advocate. For this desertion of a 
sacred for a secular employment he is taken severely to task by his brother 
Basil and his friend Gregory Nazianzen. The latter does not hesitate to 
charge him with being influenced, not by conscientious scruples, but by 
vanity and desire of public display, a charge not altogether consistent with 
his character. 



19 

Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to 
have been a sister of Gregory Nazianzen. Certainly the tradition of 
Gregory's marriage received such credit as to be made in after times a 
proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. But it rests mainly on 
two passages, which taken separately are not in the least conclusive. The 
first is the ninety-fifth letter of Gregory Nazianzen, written to console for 
a certain loss by death, i.e. of "Theosebeia, the fairest, the most lustrous 
even amidst such beauty of the ocSetapoi; Theosebeia, the true priestess, 
the yokefellow and the equal of a priest." J. Rupp has well pointed out 
that the expression 'yokefellow' (au^uyov), which has been insisted as 
meaning 'wife,' may, especially in the language of Gregory Nazianzen, be 
equivalent to aSetapbc,. He sees in this Theosebeia 'a sister of the 
Cappadocian brothers.' The second passage is contained in the third cap. 
of Gregory's treatise On Virginity. Gregory there complains that he is 
"cut off by a kind of gulf from this glory of virginity" (TtocpGevioc). The 
whole passage should be consulted. Of course its significance depends on 
the meaning given to TtocpGevioc. Rupp asserts that more and more 
towards the end of the century this word acquired a technical meaning 
derived from the purely ideal side, i.e. virginity of soul: and that Gregory 
is alluding to the same thing that his friend had not long before blamed him 
for, the keeping of a school for rhetoric, where his object had been merely 
worldly reputation, and the truly ascetic career had been marred (at the 
time he wrote). Certainly the terrible indictment of marriage in the third 
cap of this treatise comes ill from one whose wife not only must have been 
still living, but possessed the virtues sketched in the letter of Gregory 
Nazianzen: while the allusions at the end of it to the law-courts and their 
revelations appear much more like the professional reminiscence of a 
rhetorician who must have been familiar with them, than the personal 
complaint of one who had cause to depreciate marriage. The powerful 
words of Basil, de Virgin. I. 610, a. b., also favor the above view of the 
meaning of TtocpGevioc: and Gregory elsewhere distinctly calls celibacy 
7tocp0evioc xcu gcojjxxtoc,, and regards it as a means only to this higher 
7tocp9evioc (III. 131). But the two passages above, when combined, may 
have led to the tradition of Gregory's marriage. Nicephorus Callistus, for 
example, who first makes mention of it, must have put upon TtocpGevioc 
the interpretation of his own time (thirteenth century,) i.e. that of 
continence. Finally, those who adopt this tradition have still to account for 



20 

the fact that no allusion to Theosebeia as his wife, and no letter to her, is 
to be found in Gregory's numerous writings. It is noteworthy that the 
Benedictine editors of Gregory Nazianzen (ad Epist. 95) also take the 
above view. 

His final recovery and conversion to the Faith, of which he was always 
after so strenuous an asserter, was due to her who, all things considered, 
was the master spirit of the family. By the powerful persuasions of his 
sister Macrina, at length, after much struggle, he altered entirely his way of 
life, severed himself from all secular occupations, and retired to his 
brother's monastery in the solitudes of Pontus, a beautiful spot, and 
where, as we have seen, his mother and sister had established, in the 
immediate neighborhood, a similar association for women. 

Here, then, Gregory was settled for several years, and devoted himself to 
the study of the Scripture and the works of his master Origen. Here, too, 
his love of natural scenery was deepened so as to find afterwards constant 
and adequate expression. For in his writings we have in large measure that 
sentiment of delight in the beauty of nature of which, even when it was 
felt, the traces are so few and far between in the whole range of Greek 
literature. A notable instance is the following from the Letter to Adelphus, 
written long afterwards: -"The gifts bestowed upon the spot by Nature, 
who beautifies the earth with an impromptu grace, are such as these: 
below, the river Halys makes the place fair to look upon with his banks, 
and glides like a golden ribbon through their deep purple, reddening his 
current with the soil he washes down. Above, a mountain densely 
overgrown with wood stretches, with its long ridge, covered at all points 
with the foliage of oaks, more worthy of finding some Homer to sing its 
praises than that Ithacan Neritus which the poet calls 'far-seen with 
quivering leaves.' But the natural growth of wood as it comes down the 
hill-side meets at the foot the plantations of human husbandry. For 
forthwith vines, spread out over the slopes and swellings and hollows at 
the mountain's base, cover with their color, like a green mantle, all the 
lower ground: and the season also was now adding to their beauty with a 
display of magnificent grape-clusters." Another is from the treatise On 
Infants ' Early Deaths: — "Nay look only at an ear of corn, at the 
germinating of some plant, at a ripe bunch of grapes, at the beauty of early 
autumn whether in fruit or flower, at the grass springing unbidden, at the 



21 

mountain reaching up with its summit to the height of the ether, at the 
springs of the lower ground bursting from its flanks in streams like milk, 
and running in rivers through the glens, at the sea receiving those streams 
from every direction and yet remaining within its limits with waves edged 
by the stretches of beach, and never stepping beyond those fixed 
boundaries: and how can the eye of reason fail to find in them all that our 
education for Realities requires?" The treatise On Virginity was the fruit of 
this life in Basil's monastery. 

Henceforward the fortunes of Gregory are more closely linked with those 
of his great brother Basil. 

About A. D. 365 Basil was summoned from his retirement to act as 
coadjutor to Euseblus, the Metropolitan of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and 
aid him in repelling the assaults of the Arian faction on the Faith. In these 
assaults the Arians were greatly encouraged and assisted by the 
proclivities of the Emperor Valens. After some few years of strenuous and 
successful resistance, and the endurance of great persecution from the 
Emperor and his Court, a persecution which indeed pursued him through 
life, Basil is called by the popular voice, on the death of Eusebius, A. D. 
370, to succeed him in the See. His election is vehemently opposed, but 
after much turmoil is at length accomplished. 

To strengthen himself in his position, and surround himself with defenders 
of the orthodox Faith, he obliges his brother Gregory, in spite of his 
emphatic protest, to undertake the Bishopric of Nyssa, a small town in 
the west of Cappadocia. When a friend expressed his surprise that he had 
chosen so obscure a place for such a man as Gregory, he replied, that he 
did not desire his brother to receive distinction from the name of his See, 
but rather to confer distinction upon it. 

It was with the same feeling, and by the exercise of a like masterful will, 
that he forced upon his friend Gregory Nazianzen the Bishopric of a still 
more obscure and unimportant place, called Sasima. But Gregory highly 
resented the nomination, which unhappily led to a lifelong estrangement. 

It was about this time, too, that a quarrel had arisen between Basil and 
their uncle, another Gregory, one of the Cappadocian Bishops. And here 
Gregory of Nyssa gave a striking proof of the extreme simplicity and 



22 

unreflectiveness of his character, which without guileful intent yet led him 
into guile. Without sufficient consideration he was induced to practice a 
deceit which was as irreconcilable with Christian principle as with 
common sense. In his endeavors to set his brother and uncle at one, when 
previous efforts had been in vain, he had recourse to an extraordinary 
method. He forged a letter, as if from their uncle, to Basil, earnestly 
entreating reconciliation. The inevitable discovery of course only widened 
the breach, and drew down on Gregory his brother' s indignant 
condemnation, The reconciliation, however, which Gregory hoped for, was 
afterwards brought about. 

Nor was this the only occasion on which Gregory needed Basil's advice 
and reproof, and protection from the consequences of his inexperienced 
zeal. After he had become Bishop of Nyssa, with a view to render 
assistance to his brother he promoted the summoning of Synods. But 
Basil's wider experience told him that no good would come of such 
assemblies under existing circumstances. Besides which he had reason to 
believe that Gregory would be made the tool of factious and designing 
men. He therefore discouraged the attempt. At another time Basil had to 
interpose his authority to prevent his brother joining in a mission to Rome 
to invite the interference of Pope Damasus and the Western Bishops in the 
settlement of the troubles at Antioch in consequence of the disputed 
election to the See. Basil had himself experience of the futility of such 
application to Rome, from the want of sympathy in the Pope and the 
Western Bishops with the troubles in the East. Nor would he, by such 
application, give a handle for Rome's assertion of supremacy, and 
encroachment on the independence of the Eastern Church. The Bishopric 
of Nyssa was indeed to Gregory no bed of roses. Sad was the contrast to 
one of his genre spirit, more fitted for studious retirement and monastic 
calm than for controversies which did not end with the pen, between the 
peaceful leisure of his retreat in Pontus and the troubles and antagonisms 
of his present position. The enthusiasm of his faith on the subject of the 
Trinity and the Incarnation brought upon him the full weight of Arian and 
Sabellian hostility, aggravated as it was by the patronage of the Emperor. 
In fact his whole life at Nyssa was a series of persecutions. 

A charge of uncanonical irregularity in his ordination is brought up against 
him by certain Arian Bishops, and he is summoned to appear and answer 



23 

them at a Synod at Ancyra. To this was added the vexation of a 
prosecution by Demosthenes, the Emperor's chef de cuisine, on a charge 
of defalcation in the Church funds. 

A band of soldiers is sent to fetch him to the Synod. The fatigue of the 
journey, and the rough treatment of his conductors, together with anxiety 
of mind, produce a fever which prevents his attendance. His brother Basil 
comes to his assistance. He summons another Synod of orthodox 
Cappadocian Bishops, who dictate in their joint names a courteous letter, 
apologizing for Gregory's absence from the Synod of Ancyra, and proving 
the falsehood of the charge of embezzlement. At the same time he writes 
to solicit the interest of Astorgus, a person of considerable influence at the 
Court, to save his brother from the indignity of being dragged before a 
secular tribunal. 

Apparently the application was unsuccessful. Demosthenes now obtains 
the holding another Synod at Gregory's own See of Nyssa, where he is 
summoned to answer the same charges. Gregory refuses to attend. He is 
consequently pronounced contumacious, and deposed from his Bishopric. 
His deposition is followed immediately by a decree of banishment from 
the Emperor, A.D. 376. He retires to Seleucia. But his banishment did not 
secure him from the malice and persecution of his enemies. He is obliged 
frequently to shift his quarters, and is subjected to much bodily 
discomfort and suffering. From the consoling answers of his friend 
Gregory of Nazianzen (for his own letters are lost), we learn the crushing 
effects of all these troubles upon his gentle and sensitive spirit, and the 
deep despondency into which he had fallen. 

At length there is a happier turn of affairs. The Emperor Valens is killed, 
A.D. 378, and with him Arianism ' vanished in the crash of Hadrianople.' 
He is succeeded by Gratian, the friend and disciple of St. Ambrose. The 
banished orthodox Bishops are restored to their Sees, and Gregory returns 
to Nyssa. In one of his letters, most probably to his brother Basil, he gives 
a graphic description of the popular triumph with which his return was 
greeted. 

But the joy of his restoration is overshadowed by domestic sorrows. His 
great brother, to whom he owed so much, soon after dies, ere he is 50 
years of age, worn out by his unparalleled toils and the severity of his 



24 

ascetic life. Gregory celebrated his death in a sincere panegyric. Its 
high-flown style is explained by the rhetorical fashion of the time. The 
same year another sorrow awaits him. After a separation of many years he 
revisits his sister Macrina, at her convent in Pontus, but only to find her 
on her death-bed. We have an interesting and graphic account of the scene 
between Gregory and his dying sister. To the last this admirable woman 
appears as the great teacher of her family. She supplies her brother with 
arguments for, and confirms his faith in, the resurrection of the dead; and 
almost reproves him for the distress he felt at her departure, bidding him, 
with St. Paul, not to sorrow as those who had no hope. After her decease 
an inmate of the convent, named Vestiana, brought to Gregory a ring, in 
which was a piece of the true Cross, and an iron cross, both of which were 
found on the body when laying it out. One Gregory retained himself, the 
other he gave to Vestiana. He buried his sister in the chapel at Annesi, in 
which her parents and her brother Naucratius slept. 

From henceforth the labors of Gregory have a far more extended range. He 
steps into the place vacated by the death of Basil, and takes foremost rank 
among the defenders of the Faith of Nicaea. He is not, however, without 
trouble still from the heretical party. Certain Galatians had been busy in 
sowing the seeds of their heresy among his own people. He is subjected, 
too, to great annoyance from the disturbances which arose out of the wish 
of the people of Ibera in Pontus to have him as their Bishop. In that early 
age of the Church election to a Bishopric, if not dependent on the popular 
voice, at least called forth the expression of much popular feeling, like a 
contested election amongst ourselves. This often led to breaches of the 
peace, which required military intervention to suppress them, as it 
appears to have done on this occasion. 

But the reputation of Gregory is now so advanced, and the weight of his 
authority as an eminent teacher so generally acknowledged, that we find 
him as one of the Prelates at the Synod of Antioch assembled for the 
purpose of healing the long-continued schisms in that distracted See. By 
the same Synod Gregory is chosen to visit and endeavor to reform the 
Churches of Arabia and Babylon, which had fallen into a very corrupt and 
degraded state. He gives a lamentable account of their condition, as being 
beyond all his powers of reformation. On this same journey he visits 
Jerusalem and its sacred scenes: it has been conjectured that the 



25 

Apollinarian heresy drew him thither. Of the Church of Jerusalem he can 
give no better account than of those he had already visited. He expresses 
himself as greatly scandalized at the conduct of the Pilgrims who visited 
the Holy City on the plea of religion. Writing to three ladies, whom he had 
known at Jerusalem, he takes occasion, from what he had witnessed there, 
to speak of the uselessness of pilgrimages as any aids to reverence and 
faith, and denounces in the strongest terms the moral dangers to which all 
pilgrims, especially women, are exposed. 

This letter is so condemnatory of what was a common and authorized 
practice of the medieval Church that Divines of the Latin communion have 
endeavored, but in vain, to deny its authenticity. 

The name and character of Gregory had now reached the Imperial Court, 
where Theodosius had lately succeeded to the Eastern Empire. As a proof 
of the esteem in which he was then held, it is said that in his recent 
journey to Babylon and the Holy Land he traveled with carriages provided 
for him by the Emperor. 

Still greater distinction awaits him. He is one of the hundred and fifty 
Bishops summoned by Theodosius to the second (Ecumenical Council, 
that of Constantinople, A.D. 381. To the assembled Fathers he brings an 
installment of his treatise against the Eunomian heresy, which he had 
written in defense of his brother Basil's positions, on the subject of the 
Trinity and the Incarnation. This he first read to his friend Gregory 
Nazianzen, Jerome, and others. Such was the influence he exercised in the 
Council that it is said, though this is very doubtful, that the explanatory 
clauses added to the Nicene Creed are due to him. Certain, however, it is 
that he delivered the inaugural address, which is not extant; further that he 
preached the funeral oration, which has been preserved, on the death of 
Meletius, of Antioch, the first President of the Council, who died at 
Constantinople; also that he preached at the enthronement of Gregory 
Nazianzen in the capital. This oration has perished. 

Shortly before the close of the Council, by a Constitution of the Emperor, 
issued from Heraclea, Gregory is nominated as one of the Bishops who 
were to be regarded as the central authorities of Catholic Communion. In 
other words, the primacy of Rome or Alexandria in the East was to be 
replaced by that of other Sees, especially Constantinople. Helladius of 



26 

Csarea was to be Gregory's colleague in his province. The connection led 
to a misunderstanding. As to the grounds of this there is much uncertainty. 
The account of it is entirely derived from Gregory himself in his Letter to 
Flavian, and from his great namesake. Possibly there were faults on both 
sides. 

We do not read of Gregory being at the Synod, A.D. 382, which followed 
the great Council of Constantinople. But we find him present at the Synod 
held the following year. 

This same year we have proof of the continued esteem and favor shown 
him by the Imperial Court. He is chosen to pronounce the funeral oration 
on the infant Princess Palcheria. And not long after that also on the death 
of the Empress Flaccilla, or Placidia, herself. This last was a magnificent 
eulogy, but one, according to Tillemont, even surpassed by that of 
Theodoret. This admirable and holy woman, a saint of the Eastern Church, 
fully warranted all the praise that could be bestowed upon her. If her 
husband Theodosius did not owe his conversion to Christianity to her 
example and influence, he certainly did his adherence to the true Faith. It is 
one of the subjects of Gregory's praise of her that by her persuasion the 
Emperor refused to give an interview to the 'rationalist of the fourth 
century,' Eunomius. 

Scarcely anything is known of the latter years of Gregory of Nyssa's life. 
The last record we have of him is that he was present at a Synod of 
Constantinople, summoned A.D. 394, by Rufinus, the powerful prefect of 
the East, under the presidency of Nectarius. The rival claims to the See of 
Bostra in Arabia had to be then settled; but perhaps the chief reason for 
summoning this assembly was to glorify the consecration of Rufinus' new 
Church in the suburbs. It was there that Gregory delivered the sermon 
which was probably his last, wrongly entitled 'On his Ordination. .' His 
words, which heighten the effect of others then preached, are humbly 
compared to the blue circles painted on the new walls as a foil to the gilded 
dome above. "The whole breathes a calmer and more peaceful spirit; the 
deep sorrow over heretics who forfeit the blessings of the Spirit changes 
only here and there into the flashes of a short-lived indignation." (J. 
Rupp.) 



27 

The prophecy of Basil had come true. Nyssa was ennobled by the name of 
its bishop appearing on the roll of this Synod, between those of the 
Metropolitans of Csarea and Iconium. Even in outward rank he is equal to 
the highest. The character of Gregory could not be more justly drawn than 
in the words of Tillemont (IX. p. 269). "Autant en effet, qu'on pent juger 
de lui par ses ecrits, c'etoit un esprit doux, bon, facile, qui avec beaucoup 
d'elevation et de lumiere, avoit neanmois beaucoup de simplicite et de 
candent, qui aimoit plus le repos que Taction, et le travail du cabinet que le 
tumulte des affaires, qui avec cela etoit sans faste, dispose a estimer et a 
loner los autres et a se mettre a dessons d'eux. Mais quoiqu' il ne cher-chat 
que le repos, nous avons vu que son zele pour sos freres 1' avoit souvent 
engagee a de grands travaux, et que Dieu avait honore sa simplicite en le 
faisant regarder comme le maitre, le docteur, le pacificateur et l'arbitre des 
eglises." 

His death (probably 395) is commemorated by the Greek Church on 
January 10, by the Latin on March. 



28 

CHAPTER 2 

HIS GENERAL CHARACTER AS A THEOLOGIAN. 

"The first who sought to establish by rational considerations the whole 
complex of orthodox doctrines." So Ueberweg (History of Philosophy, p. 
326) of Gregory of Nyssa. This marks the transition from ante-Nicene 
times. Then, at all events in the hands of Origen, philosophy was identical 
with theology. Now, that there is a 'complex of orthodox doctrines' to 
defend, philosophy becomes the handmaid of theology. Gregory, in this 
respect, has done the most important service of any of the writers of the 
Church in the fourth century. He treats each single philosophical view 
only as a help to grasp the formula of faith; and the truth of that view 
consists with him only in its adaptability to that end. Notwithstanding 
strong speculative leanings he does not defend orthodoxy either in the 
fashion of the Alexandrian school or in the fashion of some in modern 
times, who put forth a system of philosophy to which the dogmas of the 
Faith are to be accommodated. 

If this be true, the question as to his attitude towards Plato, which is one 
of the first that suggests itself, is settled. Against polytheism he does 
indeed seek to defend Christianity by connecting it apologetically with 
Plato's system. This we cannot be surprised at, considering that the 
definitions of the doctrines of the Catholic Church were formed in the very 
place where the last considerable effort of Platonism was made; but he by 
no means makes the New Life in any way dependent on this system of 
philosophy. "We cannot speculate," he says (De Anim. et Resurrect.).... 
"we must leave the Platonic car." But still when he is convinced that Plato 
will confirm doctrine he will, even in polemic treatises, adopt his view; for 
instance, he seeks to grasp the truth of the Trinity from the Platonic 
account of our internal consciousness, i.e. \|/i>Kr|. Xoyoq, \ovq; because 
such a proof from consciousness is, to Gregory, the surest and most 
reliable. 

The "rational considerations," then, by which Gregory would have 
established Christian doctrine are not necessarily drawn from the 



29 

philosophy of the time: nor, further, does he seek to rationalize entirely all 
religious truth. In fact he resigns the hope of comprehending the 
Incarnation and all the great articles. This is the very thing that 
distinguishes the Catholic from the Eunomian. "Receiving the fact we leave 
untampered with the manner of the creation of the Universe, as altogether 
secret and inexplicable (1." With a turn resembling the view of Tertullian, 
he comes back to the conclusion that for us after all Religious Truth 
consists in mystery. "The Church possesses the means of demonstrating 
these things: or rather, she has faith, which is surer than demonstration." 
He develops the truth of the Resurrection as much by the fulfillment of 
God's promises as by metaphysics: and it has been considered as one of 
the proofs that the treatise What is being 'in the image of God"! is not his 
that this subordination of philosophical proof to the witness of the Holy 
Spirit is not preserved in it. 

Nevertheless there was a large field, larger even than in the next century, in 
which rationalizing was not only allowable, but was even required of him. 
In this there are three questions which Gregory has treated with particular 
fullness and originality. They are: — 1. Evil; 2. The relation between the 
ideal and the actual Man; 3. Spirit. 

1. He takes, to begin with, Origen's view of evil. Virtue and Vice are not 
opposed to each other as two Existencies: but as Being is opposed to 
not-Being. Vice exists only as an absence. But how did this arise? 

In answering this question he seems sometimes to come very near 
Manicheism, and his writings must be read very carefully, in order to 
avoid fixing upon him the groundless charge that he leaves evil in too near 
connection with Matter. But the passages which give rise to this charge 
consist of comparisons found in his homilies and meditations; just as a 
modern theologian might in such works make the Devil the same as Sin and 
Death. The only imperfection in his view is that he is unable to regard evil 
as not only suffered but even permitted by God. But this imperfection is 
inseparable from his time: for Manicheism was too near and its opposition 
too little overcome for such a view to be possible for him; he could not see 
that it is the only one able thoroughly to resist Dualism. 

Evil with Gregory is to be found in the spontaneous proclivity of the soul 
towards Matter: but not in Matter itself. Matter, therefore, in his 



30 

eschatology is not to be burnt up and annihilated: only soul and body have 
to be refined, as gold (this is a striking comparison) is refined. He is very 
clear upon the relations between the three factors, body, matter, and evil. 
He represents the mind as the mirror of the Archetypal Beauty: then 
below the mind comes body (cp\)ai<;) which is connected with mind and 
pervaded by it, and when thus transfigured and beautified by it becomes 
itself the mirror of this mirror: and then this body in its turn influences and 
combines Matter. The Beauty of the Supreme Being thus penetrates all 
things: and as long as the lower holds on to the higher all is well. But if a 
rupture occurs anywhere, then Matter, receiving no longer influence from 
above, reveals its own deformity, and imparts something of it to body and, 
through that, to mind: for matter is in itself 'a shapeless unorganized 
thing.' Thus the mind loses the image of God. But evil began when the 
rupture was made: and what caused that? When and how did the mind 
become separated from God? 

Gregory answers this question by laying it down as a principle, that 
everything created is subject to change. The Uncreate Being is changeless, 
but Creation, since its very beginning was owing to a change, i.e. a calling 
of the non-existent into existence, is liable to alter. Gregory deals here with 
angelic equally as with human nature, and with all the powers in both, 
especially with the will, whose virtual freedom he assumes throughout. 
That, too, was created; therefore that, too, could change. 

It was possible, therefore, that, first, one of the created spirits, and, as it 
actually happened, he who was entrusted with the supervision of the 
earth, should choose to turn his eyes away from the Good; he thus looked 
at a lower good; and so began to be envious and to have 7toc9r|. All evil 
followed in a chain from this beginning; according to the principle that the 
beginning of anything is the cause of all that follows in its train. 

So the Devil fell: and the proclivity to evil was introduced into the 
spiritual world. Man, however, still looked to God and was filled with 
blessings (this is the 'ideal man' of Gregory). But as when the flame has 
got hold of a wick one cannot dim its light by means of the flame itself, but 
only by mixing water with the oil in the wick, so the Enemy effected the 
weakening of God's blessings in man by cunningly mixing wickedness in 



31 

his will, as he had mixed it in his own. From first to last, then, evil lies in 
the 7tpoocip£Gic; and in nothing else. 

God knew what would happen and suffered it, that He might not destroy 
our freedom, the inalienable heritage of reason and therefore a portion of 
His image in us. 'He' gave scope to evil for a nobler end.' Gregory calls it a 
piece of "little mindedness" to argue from evil either the weakness or the 
wickedness of God. 

II. His remarks on the relation between the ideal and the actual Man are 
very interesting. It is usual with the other Fathers, in speaking of man's 
original perfection, to take the moment of the first man's residence in 
Paradise, and to regard the whole of human nature as there represented by 
the first two human beings. Gregory is far removed from this way of 
looking at the matter. With him human perfection is the 'idea' of 
humanity: he sees already in the bodily-created Adam the fallen man. The 
present man is not to be distinguished from that bodily Adam; both fall 
below the ideal type. Gregory seems to put the Fall beyond and before the 
beginning of history. 'Under the form of narrative Moses places before us 
mere doctrine.' The locus classicus about the idea and the reality of human 
nature is On the Making of Man, I. p. 88 f. He sketches both in a masterly 
way. He speaks of the division of the human race into male and female as a 
'device' (erciTexvriaic;), implying that it was not the first 'organization' 
(KocxocaKe'uri). He hints that the irrational element was actually provided 
by the Creator, Who foresaw the Fall and the Redemption, for man to sin 
in; as if man immediately upon the creation of the perfect humanity 
became a mixed nature (spirit and flesh), and his fall was not a mere 
accident, but a necessary consequence of this mixed nature. Adam must 
have fallen: there was no perfect humanity in Paradise. In man's mixed 
nature of spirit and flesh nutrition is the basis of his sensation, and 
sensation is the basis of his thought; and so it was inevitable that sin 
through this lower yet vital side of man should enter in. So ingrained is the 
spirit with the flesh in the whole history of actual humanity that all the 
varieties of all the souls that ever have lived or ever shall, arise from this 
very mixture; i.e. from the varying degrees of either factor in each. But as 
Gregory's view here touches, though in striking contrast, on Origen's, 
more will be said about it in the next chapter. 



32 

It follows from this that Gregory, as Clement and Basil before him, did not 
look upon Original Sin as the accidental or extraordinary thing which it 
was afterwards regarded. 'From a man who is a sinner and subject to 
passion of course is engendered a man who is a sinner and subject to 
passion: sin being in a manner born with him, and growing with his 
growth, and not dying with it.' And yet he says elsewhere, "An infant 
who is just born is not culpable, nor does it merit punishment; just as he 
who has been baptized has no account to give of his past sins, since they 
are forgiven;" and he calls infants arcovripoi, 'not having in the least 
admitted the disease into their soul.' But these two views can of course be 
reconciled; the infant at the moment of its physical birth starts with sins 
forgotten, just as at the moment of its spiritual birth it starts with sins 
forgiven. No actual sin has been committed. But then its nature has lost 
the ocTtocGeioc; the inevitable weakness of its ancestry is in it. 

III. 'Spirit.' Speaking of the soul, Gregory asks, 'How can that which is 
incomposite be dissolved?' i.e. the soul is spirit, and spirit is incomposite 
and therefore indestructible. 

But care must be taken not to infer too much from this his favorite 
expression 'spirit' in connection with the soul. 'God is spirit' too; and we 
are inclined to forget that this is no more than a negative definition, and to 
imagine the human spirit of equal prerogative with Deity. Gregory gives 
no encouragement to this; he distinctly teaches that, though the soul is 
incomposite, it is not in the least independent of time and space, as the 
Deity is. 

In fact he almost entirely drops the old Platonic division of the Universe 
into Intelligible (spiritual) and Sensible, which helps to keep up this 
confusion between human and divine 'spirit,' and adopts the Christian 
division of Creator and Created. This difference between Creator and 
Created is further figured by him as that between 

1. The Infinite. The Finite. 

2. The Changeless. The Changeable. 

3. The Contradiction-less. The Contradictory. 



33 

The result of this is that the Spirit- world itself has been divided into 
Uncreate and Created. 

With regard, then, to this created Spirit- world we find that Gregory, as 
Basil, teaches that it existed, i.e. it had been created, before the work of the 
Six Days began. 'God made all that is, at once' (6c9p6co<;). This is only his 
translation of the verse, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the 
earth;' the material for 'heaven' and 'earth,' i.e. spirits and chaos, was 
made in a moment, but God had not yet spoken the successive Words of 
creation. The souls of men, then, existed from the very beginning of 
creation, and in a determinate number; for this is a necessary consequence 
of the 'simultaneous creation.' This was the case with the Angels too, the 
other portion of the created Spirit- world. Gregory has treated the subject 
of the Angels very fully. He considers that they are perfect: but their 
perfection too is contingent: it depends on the grace of God and their own 
wills; the angels are free, and therefore changeable. Their will necessarily 
moves towards something: at their first creation the Beautiful alone 
solicited them. Man 'a little lower than the Angels' was perfect too; 
deathless, passionless, contemplative. 'The true and perfect soul is single 
in its nature, intellectual, immaterial.' He was 'as the Angels' and if he fell, 
Lucifer fell too. Gregory will not say, as Origen did, that human souls had 
a body when first created: rather, as we have seen, he implies the contrary; 
and he came to be considered the champion that fought the doctrine of the 
pre-existence of embodied souls. He seems to have been influenced by 
Methodius' objections to Origen' s view. But his magnificent idea of the 
first man gives way at once to something more Scriptural and at the same 
time more scientific; and his ideal becomes a downright forecast of 
Realism. 

Taking, however, the human soul as it is, he still continues, we often find, 
to compare it with God. In his great treatise On the Soul and the 
Resurrection, he rests a great deal on the parallel between the relation of 
man to his body, and that of God to the world. — 'The soul is as a cord 
drawn out of mud; God draws to Himself what is His own. '-He calls the 
human spirit 'an influx of the divine in-breathing' {Adv. Apolim. c. 12). 
Anger and desire do not belong to the essence of the soul, he says: they are 
only among its varying states. The soul, then, as separable from matter, is 
like God. But this likeness does not extend to the point of identity. 



34 

Incomprehensible, immortal, it is not uncreated. The distinction between 
the Creator and the Created cannot be obliterated. The attributes Of the 
Creator set down above, i.e. that He is infinite, changeless, 
contradictionless, and so always good, etc., can be applied only 
catachrestically to some men, in that they resemble their Maker as a copy 
resembles its original: but still, in this connection, Gregory does speak of 
those 'who do not need any cleansing at all,' and the context forces us to 
apply these words to men. There is no irony, to him or to any Father of 
the fourth century, in the words, 'They that are whole need not a 
physician.' Although in the treatise On Virginity, where he is describing 
the development of his own moral and religious life, he is very far from 
applying them to himself, he nevertheless seems to recognize the fact that 
since Christianity began there are those to whom they might apply. 

There is also need of a certain amount of 'rational considerations' in 
advancing a Defense and a Theory of Christianity. He makes this 
according to the special requirements of the time in his Or alio Catechelica. 
His reasonings do not seem to us always convincing; but the presence of a 
living Hellenism and Judaism in the world required them. These two 
phenomena also explain what appears to us a great weakness in this work: 
namely, that he treats Hellenism as if it were all speculation; Judaism as if 
it were all facts. These two religions were too near and too practically 
opposed to each other for him to see, as we can now, by the aid of a sort 
of science of religions, that every religion has its idea, and every religion 
has its facts. He and all the first Apologists, with the spectacle of these 
two apparently opposite systems before them, thought that, in arriving at 
the True Religion as well, all could be done by considering facts; or all 
could be done by speculation. Gregory chose the latter method. A 
Dogmatic in the modern sense, in which both the idea and the facts of 
Christianity flow into one, could not have been expected of him. The 
Oratio Catethetica is a mere philosophy of Christianity in detail written in 
the philosophic language of the time. Not only does he refrain from using 
the historic proofs, i.e. of prophecy and type (except very sparingly and 
only to meet an adversary), but his defense is insufficient from another 
point of view also; he hardly uses the moral proofs either; he wanders 
persistently in metaphysics. 



35 

If he does not lean enough on these two classes of proofs, at all events that 
he does not lean entirely on either, may be considered as a guarantee of his 
excellence as a theologian pure and simple. But he is on the other hand 
very far from attempting a philosophic construction of Christianity, as we 
have seen. Though akin to modern theologians in many things, he is unlike 
those of them who would construct an a priori Christianity, in which the 
relationship of one part to another is so close that all stands or falls 
together. Philosophic deduction is with him only 'a kind of instruction' 
used in his apologetic works. On occasion he shows a clear perception of 
the historic principle. "The supernatural character of the Gospel miracles 
bears witness to their divine origin." He points, as Origen did, to the 
continued possession of miraculous powers in the Church. Again, as 
regards moral proof, there had been so much attempted that way by the 
Neo-Platonists that such proof could not have exactly the same degree of 
weight attributed to it that it has now, at least by an adherent of the newer 
Hellenism. Philostratus, Porphyry, Iamblichus had all tried to attract 
attention to the holy lives of heathen sages. Yet to these, rough sketches as 
they were, the Christian did oppose the Lives of the Saints: notably 
Gregory himself in the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus: as Origen before 
him (c. Celsum, passim) had shewn in detail the difference in kind of 
Christian holiness. 

His treatment of the Sacraments in the Oratio Catechetica is noteworthy. 
On Baptism he is very complete: it will be sufficient to notice here the 
peculiar proof he offers that the Holy Spirit is actually given in Baptism. 
It is the same proof, to start with, as that which establishes that God came 
in the flesh when Christ came. Miracles prove this; (he is not wanting here 
in the sense of the importance of History). If, then, we are persuaded that 
God is here, we must allow also that truth is here: for truth is the mark of 
Deity. When, therefore, God has said that He will come in a particular 
way, if called in a particular way, this must be true. He is so called in 
Baptism: therefore He comes. (The vital importance of the doctrine of the 
Trinity, upon which Gregory labored for so many years, thus all comes 
from Baptism.) Gregory would not confine the entire force of Baptism to 
the one ritual act. A resurrection to a new immortal life is begun in 
Baptism, but owing to the weakness of nature this complete effect is 
separated into stages or parts. With regard to the necessity of Baptism for 



36 

salvation, he says he does not know if the Angels receive the souls of the 
unbaptized; but he rather intimates that they wander in the air seeking 
rest, and entreat in vain like the Rich Man. To him who willfully defers it 
he says, 'You are out of paradise, O Catechumen!' 

In treating the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Gregory was the first Father 
who developed the view of transformation, for which transubstantiation 
was afterwards substituted to suit the mediaeval philosophy; that is, he 
put this view already latent into actual words. There is a locus classicus in 
the Oratio Catechetica, c. 37. 

"Therefore from the same cause as that by which the bread that was 
transformed in that Body was changed to a divine potency, a similar result 
takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to 
make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread and was in 
a manner itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, ' 
is sanctified by the word of God and prayer:' not that it advances by the 
process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it at 
once is changed into the Body, by the Word, as the Word Himself said, 
'This is My Body;''" and just above he had said: "Rightly do we believe that 
now also the bread which is consecrated by the word of God is changed 
into the body of God the Word." This way of explaining the mystery of 
the Sacrament, i.e. from the way bread was changed into the Word when 
Christ was upon earth, is compared by Neander with another way 
Gregory had of explaining it, i.e. the heightened efficacy of the bread is as 
the heightened efficacy of the baptismal water, the anointing oil, etc., a 
totally different idea. But this, which may be called the metabatic view, is 
the one evidently most present to his mind. In a fragment of his found in a 
Parisian MS., quoted with the Liturgies of James, Basil, Chrysostom, we 
also find it; "The consecrated bread is changed into the body of the Word; 
and it is needful for humanity to partake of that." 

Again, the necessity of the Incarnation, drawn from the words "it was 
necessary that Christ should suffer," receives a rational treatment from 
him. There must ever be, from a meditation on this, two results, according 
as the physical or the ethical element in Christianity prevails, i.e. 1. 
Propitiation; 2. Redemption. The first theory is dear to minds fed upon 
the doctrines of the Reformation, but it receives no countenance from 



37 

Gregory. Only in the book in which Moses' Life is treated allegorically 
does he even mention it. The sacrifice of Christ instead of the bloody 
sacrifices of the Old Testament is not his doctrine, He develops his theory 
of the Redemption or Ransom (i.e. from the Devil), in the Oratio 
Catechetica. Strict justice to the Evil One required it. But in his hands this 
view never degenerates, as with some, into a mere battle, e.g. in 
Gethsemane, between the Rescuer and Enslaver. 

So much has been said about Gregory's inconsistencies, and his apparent 
inconsistencies are indeed so many, that some attempt must be made to 
explain this feature, to some so repulsive, in his works. One instance at all 
events can show how it is possible to reconcile even the most glaring. He 
is not a one-sided theologian: he is not one of those who pass always the 
same judgment upon the same subject, no matter with whom he has to 
deal. There could not be a harsher contradiction than that between his 
statement about human generation in the Oratio Catechetica, and that 
made in the treatises On Virginity and On the Making of Man. In the O.C. 
everything hateful and undignified is removed from the idea of our birth; 
the idea of 7toc9o<; is not applied; "only evil brings disgrace." But in the 
other two Treatises he represents generation as a consequence of the Fall. 
This contradiction arises simply from the different standpoint in each. In 
the one case he is apologetic; and so he adopts a universally recognized 
moral axiom. In the other he is the Christian theologian; the natural 
process, therefore, takes its coloring from the Christian doctrine of the 
Fall. This is the standpoint of most of his works, which are polemical, not 
apologetic. But in the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection he 
introduces even a third view about generation, which might be called that 
of the Christian theosophist; i.e. generation is the means in the Divine plan 
for carrying Humanity to its completion. Very similar is the view in the 
treatise On Infants ' Early Deaths; "the design of all births is that the 
Power which is above the universe may in all parts of the creation be 
glorified by means of intellectual natures conspiring to the same end, by 
virtue of the same faculty operating in all; I mean, that of looking upon 
God." Here he is speaking to the purely philosophic instinct. It may be 
remarked that On this and all the operations of Divine foreknowledge in 
vast world-wide relations he has constantly striking passages, and 
deserves for this especially to be studied. 



38 

The style of Gregory is much more elegant than that of Basil: sometimes it 
may be called eloquent. His occasional digressions did not strike ancient 
critics as a fault. To them he is "sweet," "bright," "dropping pleasure into 
the ears." But his love for splendor, combined with the lateness of his 
Greek, make him one of the more difficult Church writers to interpret 
accurately. 

His similes and illustrations are very numerous, and well chosen. A few 
exceptions must, perhaps, be made. He compares the mere professing 
Christian to the ape, dressed like a mart and dancing to the flute, who used 
to amuse the people in the theater at Alexandria, but once revealed during 
the performance its bestial nature, at the sight of food. This is hardly 
worthy of a great writer, as Gregory was. Especially happy are his 
comparisons in the treatise On the Soul and Resurrection, by which 
metaphysical truths are expressed; and elsewhere those by which he seeks 
to reach the due proportions of the truth of the Incarnation. The chapters 
in his work against Eunomius where he attempts to depict the Infinite, are 
striking. But what commends him most to modern taste is his power of 
description when dealing with facts, situations, persons: he touches these 
always with a color which is felt to be no exaggeration, but the truth. 



39 

CHAPTER 3 

HIS ORIGENISM 

A true estimate of the position and value of Gregory as a Church teacher 
cannot be formed until the question of his ' Origenism,' its causes and its 
quality, is cleared up. It is well known that this charge began to be brought 
against his orthodoxy at all events after the time of Justinian: nor could 
Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the next century, remove it 
by the device of supposed interpolations of partisans in the interests of 
the Eastern as against the Western Church: for such a theory, to be true, 
would still require some hints at all events in this Father to give a color to 
such interpolations. Moreover, as will be seen, the points in which 
Gregory is most like Origen are portions of the very groundwork of his 
own theology. 

The question, then, remains why, and how far, is he a follower of Origen? 

I. When we consider the character of his great forerunner, and the kind of 
task which Gregory himself undertook, the first part of this question is 
easily answered. When Christian doctrine had to be set forth 
philosophically, so as to be intelligible to any cultivated mind of that time 
(to reconcile Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine was a task which 
Gregory never dreamed of attempting), the example and leader in such an 
attempt was Origen; he occupied as it were the whole horizon. He was the 
founder of theology; the very vocabulary of it, which is in use now, is of 
his devising. So that Gregory's language must have had, necessarily, a 
close connection with that of the great interpreter and apologist, who had 
explained to his century the same truths which Gregory had to explain to 
his: this must have been the case even if his mind had not been as spiritual 
and idealizing as Origen' s. But in some respects it will be seen Gregory is 
even more an idealist than Origen himself. Alike, then, from purpose and 
tradition as from sympathy he would look back to Origen. Though a gulf 
was between them, and, since the Council of Nicaea, there were some 
things that could come no more into controversy, Gregory saw, where the 
Church had not spoken, with the same eyes as Origen: he uses the same 



40 

keys as he did for the problems which Scripture has not solved; he uses 
the same great weapon of allegory in making the letter of Scripture give up 
the spiritual treasures. It could not have been otherwise when the whole 
Christian religion, which Gregory was called on to defend as a philosophy, 
had never before been systematically so defended but by Origen; and this 
task, the same for both, was presented to the same type of mind, in the 
same intellectual atmosphere. It would have been strange indeed if Gregory 
had not been a pupil at least (though he was no blind follower) of Origen. 

If we take for illustration of this the most vital point in the vast system, if 
system it can be called, of Origen, we shall see that he had traced 
fundamental lines of thought, which could not in that age be easily left. He 
asserts the virtual freedom of the human will, in every stage and condition 
of human existence. The Greek philosophy of the third century, and the 
semi-pagan Gnosticism, in their emanational view of the world, denied this 
freedom. With them the mind of man, as one of the emanations of Deity 
itself, was, as much as the matter of which the world was made, regulated 
and governed directly from the Source whence they both flowed. Indeed 
every system of thought, not excepting Stoicism, was struck with the 
blight of this fatalism. There was no freedom for man at all but in the 
system which Origen was drawing from, or rather reading into, the 
Scriptures. No Christian philosopher who lived amongst the same 
counter-influences as Origen could overlook this starting-point of his 
system; he must have adopted it, even if the danger of Pelagianism had 
been foreseen in it; which could not have been the case. 

Gregory adopted it, with the other great doctrine which in the mind of 
Origen accompanied it; i.e., that evil is caused, not by matter, but by the 
act of this free will of man; in other words, by sin. Again the fatalism of all 
the emanationists had to be combated as to the nature and necessity of 
evil. With them evil was some inevitable result of the Divine processes; it 
abode at all events in matter, and human responsibility was at an end. 
Greek philosophy from first to last had shewed, even at its best, a 
tendency to connect evil with the lower (pvoic,. But now, in the light of 
revelation, a new truth was set forth, and repeated again and again by the 
very men who were inclined to adopt Plato's rather Dualistic division of 
the world into the intelligible and sensible. 'Evil was due to an act of the 
will of man.' Moreover it could no longer be regarded per se: it was 



41 

relative, being a 'default,' or 'failure,' or 'turning away from the true good' 
of the will, which, however, was always free to rectify this failure. It was 
a oxepriaic;, — loss of the good; but it did not stand over against the good 
as an independent power. Origen contemplated the time when evil would 
cease to exist; 'the non-existent cannot exist for ever:' and Gregory did the 
same. 

This brings us to yet another consequence of this enthusiasm for human 
freedom and responsibility, which possessed Origen, and carried Gregory 
away. The ocTtoKorcacrcaGK; tcov ttocvtcov has been thought, in certain 
periods of the Church, to have been the only piece of Origenism with 
which Gregory can be charged. [This of course shows ignorance of the 
kind of influence which Gregory allowed Origen to have over him; and 
which did not require him to select even one isolated doctrine of his 
master.] It has also brought him into more suspicion than any other 
portion of his teaching. Yet it is a direct consequence of the view of evil, 
which he shares with Origen. If evil is the non-existent, as his master says, 
a GTepr|ai<;, as he says, then it must pass away. It was not made by God; 
neither is it self- sub si sting. 

But when it has passed away, what follows? That God will be "all in all." 
Gregory accepts the whole of Origen' s explanation of this great text. Both 
insist on the impossibility of God being in ' everything,' if evil still 
remains. But this is equivalent to the restoration to their primitive state of 
all created spirits. Still it must be remembered that Origen required many 
future stages of existence before all could arrive at such a consummation: 
with him there is to be more than one 'next world;' and even when the 
primitive perfection is reached, his peculiar view of the freedom of the 
will, as an absolute balance between good and evil, would admit the 
possibility of another fall. 'All may be saved; and all may fall.' How the 
final Sabbath shall come in which all wills shall rest at last is but dimly 
hinted at in his writings. With Gregory, on the other hand, there are to be 
but two worlds: the present and the next; and in the next the 
aTtoKOCT&GTOcaic; T(3v TtocvTcov must be effected. Then, after the 
Resurrection, the fire 6cKoi(xr|TO<;, oc'ic6vio<;, as he continually calls it, will 
have to do its work. 'The avenging flame will be the more ardent the more 
it has to consume' (De Anima et Resurr., p. 227). But at last the evil will 
be annihilated, and the bad saved by nearness to the good.' There is to rise 



42 

a giving of thanks from all nature. Nevertheless passages have been 
adduced from Gregory's writings in which the language of Scripture as to 
future punishment is used without any modification, or hint of this 
universal salvation. In the treatise, De Pauperibus Amandis, II. p. 240, he 
says of the last judgment that God will give to each his due; repose eternal 
to those who have exercised pity and a holy life; but the eternal 
punishment of fire for the harsh and unmerciful: and addressing the rich 
who have made a bad use of their riches, he says, 'Who will extinguish the 
flames ready to devour you and engulf you? Who will stop the gnawings 
of a worm that never dies?' Cf. also Orat. 3, de Beatitudinibus, I. p. 788: 
contra Ursuarios, II. p. 233: though the hortatory character of these 
treatises makes them less important as witnesses. 

A single doctrine or group of doctrines, however, may be unduly pressed 
in accounting for the influence of Origen upon a kindred spirit like 
Gregory. Doubtless fragments of Origen' s teaching, mere details very 
often, were seized upon and appropriated by others; they were erected 
into dogmas and made to do duty for the whole living fabric; and even 
those details were sometimes misunderstood. ' What he had said with a 
mind full of thought, others took in the very letter.' Hence arose the evil of 
'Origenism,' so prevalent in the century in which Gregory lived. Different 
ways of following him were found, bad and good. Even the Arians could 
find in his language now and then something they could claim as their own. 
But as Rupp well says, 'Origen is not great by virtue of those particular 
doctrines, which are usually exhibited to the world as heretical by weak 
heads who think to take the measure of everything with the mere formulae 
of orthodoxy. He is great by virtue of one single thought, i.e. that of 
bringing philosophy into union with religion, and thereby creating a 
theology. With Clement of Alexandria this thought was a mere instinct: 
Origen gave it consciousness: and so Christendom began to have a science 
of its own.' It was this single purpose, visible in all Origen wrote, that 
impressed itself so deeply upon Gregory. He, too, would vindicate the 
Scriptures as a philosophy. Texts, thanks to the labors of Origen as well 
as to the councils of the Church, had now acquired a fixed meaning and an 
importance that all could acknowledge. The new spiritual philosophy lay 
within them; he would make them speak its language. Allegory was with 
him, just as with Origen, necessary, in order to find the Spirit which 



43 

inspires them. The letter must not impose itself upon us and stand for 
more than it is worth; just as the practical experience of evil in the world 
must not blind us to the fact that it is only a passing dispensation, If only 
the animus and intention is regarded, we may say that all that Gregory 
wrote was Origenistic. 

II. But nevertheless much had happened in the interval of 130 years that 
divides them and this leads us to consider the limits which the state of the 
Church, as well as Gregory's own originality and more extended physical 
knowledge, placed upon the complete filling in of the outlines sketched by 
the master. First and chiefly, Origen's doctrine of the pre-existence of the 
soul could not be retained; and we know that Gregory not only abandoned 
it, but attacked it with all his powers of logic in his treatise, De Animo et 
Resurrectione: for which he receives the applause of the Emperor 
Justinian. Souls, according to Origen, had pre-existed from eternity: they 
were created certainly, but there never was a time when they did not exist: 
so that the procession even of the Holy Spirit could in thought only be 
prior to their existence. Then a failure of their free wills to grasp the true 
good, and a consequent cooling of the fire of love within them, plunged 
them in this material bodily existence, which their own sin made a 
suffering one. This view had certainly great merits: it absolved the Deity 
from being the author of evil, and so was a 'theodicee;' it entirely got rid of 
the two rival principles, good and evil, of the Gnostics; and it avoided the 
seeming incongruity of what was to last for ever in the future being not 
eternal in the past. Why then was it rejected? Not only because of the 
objection urged by Methodius, that the addition of a body would be no 
remedy but rather an increase of the sin; or that urged amongst many 
others by Gregory, that a vice cannot be regarded as the precursor of the 
birth of each human soul into this or into other worlds; but more than that 
and chiefly, because such a doctrine contravened the more distinct views 
now growing up as to what the Christian creation was, and the more 
careful definitions also of the Trinity now embodied in the creeds. In fact 
the pre-existence of the soul was wrapped up in a cosmogony that could 
no longer approve itself to the Christian consciousness. In asserting the 
freedom of the will, and placing in the will the cause of evil, Origen had so 
far banished emanationism; but in his view of the eternity of the world, 
and in that of the eternal pre-existence of souls which accompanied it, he 



44 

had not altogether stamped it out. He connects rational natures so closely 
with the Deity that each individual Xoyoc;, seems almost, in a Platonic 
way, to lie in the Divine Aoyoc; which he styles ovo'ia ovai&\, iSeoc 
iSecov. They are 'partial brightnesses (anavyao\xana) of the glory of 
God.' He allows them, of course, to have been created in the Scriptural 
sense of that word, which is certainly an advance upon Justin; but his 
creation is not that distinct event in time which Christianity requires and 
the exacter treatment of the nature of the Divine Persons had now 
developed. His creation, both the intelligible and visible world, receives 
from him an eternity which is unnatural and incongruous in relation to his 
other speculations and beliefs: it lingers, Tithonus-like, in the presence of 
the Divine Persons, without any meaning and purpose for its life; it is the 
last relic of Paganism, as it were, in a system which is otherwise Christian 
to the very core. His strenuous effort to banish all ideas of time, at all 
events from the intelligible world, ended in this eternal creation of that 
world; which seemed to join the eternally generated Son too closely to it, 
and gave occasion to the Arians to say that He too was a KTiapoc. This 
eternal pre-existence in fact almost destroyed the idea of creation, and 
made the Deity in a way dependent on His own world. Athanasius, 
therefore, and his followers were roused to separate the divinity of the Son 
from everything created. The relation of the world to God could no longer 
be explained in the same terms as those which they employed to illustrate 
the relations between the Divine Persons; and when once the doctrine of 
the consubstantiality of the Father and Son had been accepted and firmly 
established there could be no more favor shown by the defenders of that 
doctrine to the merely Platonic view of the nature and origin of souls and 
of matter. 

Amongst the defenders of the Creed of Nicaea, Gregory, we know, stands 
well-nigh foremost. In his long and numerous treatises on the Trinity he 
employs every possible argument and illustration to show the contents of 
the substance of the Deity as transcendent, incommunicable to creation 
per se. Souls cannot have the attributes of Deity. Created spirits cannot 
claim immediate kindred with the Aoyoq. So instead of the Platonic 
antithesis of the intelligible and sensible world, which Origen adopted, 
making all equal in the intelligible world, he brings forward the antithesis 
of God and the world. He felt too that that antithesis answers more fully 



45 

not only to the needs of the Faith in the Trinity daily growing more exact 
and clear, but also to the facts of the Creation, i.e. its variety and 
differences. He gives up the pre-existence of the rational soul; it will not 
explain the infinite variety observable in souls. The variety, again, of the 
material world, full as it is of the miracles of divine power, cannot have 
been the result of the chance acts of created natures embodying themselves 
therein, which the theory of pre-existence supposes. God and the created 
world (of spirits and matter) are now to be the factors in theology; 
although Gregory does now and then, for mere purposes of illustration, 
divide the Universe still into the intelligible and the sensible. 

When once pre-existence was given up, the parts of the soul could be more 
closely united to each other, because the lower and higher were in their 
beginning no longer separated by a gulf of ages. Accordingly Gregory, 
reducing the three parts of man which Origen had used to the simpler 
division into visible and invisible (sensible and intelligible), dwells much 
upon the intimate relation between the two and the mutual action of one 
upon the other. Origen had retained the trichotomy of Plato which other 
Greek Fathers also, with the sanction, as they supposed, of S. Paul (1 
Thess. v. 23), had adopted. 'Body,' 'soul,' and 'spirit,' or Plato's ' body,' 
' unreasoning' and ' reasoning soul,' had helped Origen to explain how the 
last, the pre-existent soul (the spirit, or the conscience, as he sometimes 
calls it) could ever have come to live in the flesh. The second, the soul 
proper, is as it were a mediating ground on which the spirit can meet the 
flesh. The celestial mind, ' the real man fallen from on high,' rules by the 
power of conscience or of will over this soul, where the merely animal 
functions and the natural appetites reside; and through this soul over the 
body. How the celestial mind can act at all upon this purely animal soul 
which lies between it and the body, Origen leaves unexplained. But this 
division was necessary for him, in order to represent the spirit as 
remaining itself unchanged in its heavenly nature, though weakened by its 
long captivity in the body. The middle soul (in which he sometimes places 
the will) is the scene of contamination and disorder; the spirit is free, it can 
always rejoice at what is well done in the soul, and yet is not touched by 
the evil in it; it chooses, convicts, and punishes. Such was Origen' s 
psychology. But an intimate connection both in birth and growth between 
all the faculties of man is one of Gregory's most characteristic thoughts, 



46 

and he gave up this trichotomy, which was still, however, retained by 
some Greek fathers, and adopted the simpler division mentioned above in 
order more clearly and concisely to show the mutual play of spirit and 
body upon each other. There was soon, too, another reason why this 
trichotomy should be suspected. It was a second time made the vehicle of 
error. Apollinaris adopted it, in order to expound that the Divine Aoyot; 
took the place, in the tripartite soul of Christ, of the 'reasonable soul' or 
spirit of other men. Gregory, in pressing for a simpler treatment of man's 
nature, thus snatched a vantage-ground from a sagacious enemy. His own 
psychology is only one instance of a tendency which runs through the 
whole of his system, and which may indeed be called the dominating 
thought with which he approached every question; he views each in the 
light of form and matter; spirit penetrating and controlling body, body 
answering to spirit and yet at the same time supplying the nutriment upon 
which the vigor and efficacy of spirit, in this world at least, depends. This 
thought underlies his view of the material universe and of Holy Scripture, 
as well as of man's nature. With regard to the last he says, 'the intelligible 
cannot be realized in body at all, except it be commingled with sensation; ' 
and again, 'as there can be no sensation without a material substance, so 
there can be no exercise of the power of thought without sensation.' The 
spiritual or intelligent part of man (which he calls by various names, such 
as 'the inner man,' the\|A)%r| XoyiKti, vovc, or Sidvoioc, to ^cooranbv 
ocrciov, or simply \\fc%r\ as throughout the treatise On the Soul), however 
alien in its essence from the bodily and sentient part, yet no sooner is 
united with this earthly part than it at once exerts power over it. In fact it 
requires this instrument before it can reach its perfection. 'Seeing, then, 
man is a reasoning animal of a certain kind, it was necessary that the body 
should be prepared as an instrument appropriate to the needs of his 
reason.' So closely has this reason been united with the senses and the 
flesh that it performs itself the functions of the animal part; it is the 
'mind' or 'reason' itself that sees, hears, etc.; in fact the exercise of mind 
depends on a sound state of the senses and other organs of the body; for a 
sick body cannot receive the 'artistic' impressions of the mind and, so, the 
mind remains inoperative. This is enough to show how far Gregory had 
got from pre-existence and the 'fall into the prison of the flesh.' 



47 

His own theory of the origin of the soul, or at least that to which he 
visibly inclines, is stated in the treatise, De Anima et Resurrectione, p. 
241. It is that of Tertullian and some Greek Fathered also: and goes by the 
name of 'traducianism' The soul is transmitted in the generating seed. This 
of course is the opposite pole to Origen's teaching, and is inconsistent 
with Gregory's own spiritualism. The other alternative, Creationism, 
which a number of the orthodox adopted, namely that souls are created by 
God at the moment of conception, or when the body of the fetus is 
already formed, was not open to him to adopt; because, according to him, 
in idea the world of spirits was made, and in a determinate number, along 
with the world of unformed matter by the one creative act 'in the 
beginning.' In the plan of the universe, though not in reality as with 
Origen, all souls are already created. So the life of humanity contains them: 
when the occasion comes they take their beginning along with the body 
which enshrines them, but are not created then any more than that body. 
Such was the compromise between spiritualism and materialism to which 
Gregory was driven by the difficulties of the subject Origen with his eye 
unfalteringly fixed upon the ideal world, and unconscious of the practical 
consequences that might be drawn from his teaching, cut the knot with his 
eternal pre-existence of souls, which avoided at once the alleged absurdity 
of creationism and the grossness of traducianism. But the Church, for 
higher interests still than those of pure idealism, had to reject that doctrine; 
and Gregory, with his extended knowledge in physic and his close 
observation of the intercommunion of mind and body, had to devise or 
rather select a theory which, though a makeshift, would not contradict 
either his knowledge or his faith. 

Yet after admitting that soul and body are born together and attaching such 
importance to the 'physical basis' of life and thought, the influence of his 
master, or else his own uncontrollable idealism, carries him away again in 
the opposite direction. After reading words in his treatise which Locke 
might have written we come upon others which are exactly the teaching of 
Berkeley. There is a passage in the De Anima et Resurrectione where he 
deals with the question how an intelligent Being could have created matter, 
which is neither intelligent or intelligible. But what if matter is only a 
concourse of qualities, evvoioci, or \|/iXoc votiuxxtoc as he elsewhere calls 
them? Then there would be no difficulty in understanding the manner of 



48 

creation. But even about this we can say so much, i.e. that not one of 
those things which we attribute to body is itself body: neither figure, nor 
color, nor weight, nor extension, nor quantity, nor any other qualifying 
notion whatever: but every one of them is a thought, it is the combination 
of them all into a single whole that constitutes body. Seeing, then, that 
these several qualifications which complete the particular body are grasped 
by thought alone, and not by sense, and that the Deity is a thinking being, 
what trouble can it be to such a thinking agent to produce the thoughts 
whose mutual combination generate for us the substance of that body? and 
in the treatise, De Horn. Opif., c. 24, the intelligible (pvcic, is said to 
produce the intelligible 8t)vd(xei<;, and the concourse of these St>vocjx£i<; 
brings into being the material nature. The body itself, he repeats (contra 
Fatum, p. 67), is not a real substance; it is a soulless, unsubstantial thing. 
The only real creation is that of spirits. Even Origen did not go so far as 
that Matter with him, though it exists by concomitance and not by itself, 
nevertheless really exists. He avoided a rock upon which Gregory runs; for 
with Gregory not only matter but created spirit as well vanish in idealism. 
There remain with him only the and God. 

This transcendent idealism embarrasses him in many ways, and makes his 
theory of the soul full of inconsistency. He will not say unhesitatingly 
whether that pure humanity in the beginning created in the image of God 
had a body or not like ours. Origen at all events says that the eternally 
pre-existing spirits were invested with a body, even before falling into the 
sensible world. But Gregory, while denying the pre-existence of souls in 
the sense of Origen, yet in many of his treatises, especially in the De 
Horn. Opificio, seems to point to a primitive humanity, a predeterminate 
number of souls destined to live in the body though they had not yet lived, 
which goes far beyond Origen' s in its ideal character. "When Moses," 
Gregory says, "speaks of the soul as the image of God, he shows that all 
that is alien to God must be excluded from our definition of the soul; and a 
corporal nature is alien to God." He points out that God first 'made man 
in His own image,' and after that made them male and female; so that there 
was a double fashioning of our nature, r\ te 7tpb<; to Geiov opoicopevri, r\ 
T£ 7tpo<; tt|v Sioccpopocv toctjttiv (i.e. male and female) 8ir|pr|jj,evr|. On the 
other hand, in the Oratio Catechetica, which contains certainly his more 
dogmatic statement on every point, this ideal and passionless humanity is 



49 

regarded as still in the future: and it is represented that man's 
double-nature is actually the very center of the Divine Councils, and not 
the result of any mistake or sin; man's soul from the very first was 
commingled (dvdcKpocaic, is Gregory's favorite word) with a body, in 
order that in him, as representing every stage of living things, the whole 
creation, even in its lowest part, might share in the divine. Man, as the 
paragon of animals, was necessary, in order that the union might be 
effected between two otherwise irreconcilable worlds, the intelligible and 
the sensible. Though, therefore, there was a Fall at last, it was not the 
occasion of man's receiving a body similar to animals; that body was given 
him at the very first, and was only preparatory to the Fall, which was 
foreseen in the Divine Councils and provided for. Both the body and the 
Fall were necessary in order that the Divine plan might be carried out, and 
the Divine glory manifested in creation. In this view the "coats of skins" 
which Gregory inherits from the allegorical treasures of Origen are no 
longer merely the human body itself, as with Origen, but all the passions, 
actions, and habits of that body after the Fall, which he sums up in the 
generic term rax9r|. If, then, there is to be any reconciliation between this 
and the former view of his in which the pure unstained humanity, the 
'image of God,' is differentiated by a second act of creation as it were into 
male and female, we must suppose him to teach that immediately upon the 
creation in God's image there was added all that in human nature is akin to 
the merely animal world. In that man was God's image, his will was free, 
but in that he was created, he was able to fall from his high estate; and 
God, foreseeing the Fall, at once added the distinction of sex, and with it 
the other features of the animal which would befit the fall; but with the 
purpose of raising thereby the whole creation. But two great 
counter-influences seem always to be acting upon Gregory; the one 
sympathy with the speculations of Origen, the other a tendency to see 
even with a modern insight into the closeness of the intercommunion 
between soul and body. The results of these two influences cannot be 
altogether reconciled. His ideal and his actual man, each sketched with a 
skillful and discriminating hand, represent the interval that divides his 
aspirations from his observations: yet both are present to his mind when 
he writes about the soul. He does not alter, as Origen does, the traditional 
belief in the resurrection of the body, and yet his idealism, in spite of his 
actual and strenuous defense of it in the carefully argued treatise On the 



50 

Soul and Resurrection, renders it unnecessary, if not impossible. We know 
that his faith impelled Origen, too, to contend for the resurrection of the 
flesh: yet it is an almost forced importation into the rest of his system. 
Our bodies, he teaches, will rise again: but that which will make us the 
same persons we were before is not the sameness of our bodies (for they 
will be ethereal, angelic, uncarnal, etc.) but the sameness of a Xoyot; within 
them which never dies (X6yo<;Ti<; eyiceiToci %& acojxocTi, dcp' ov> \ir\ 
(pGeipojievoi) eyeipexoci to gcojioc ev acpGocpaia, c. Cels. v. 23). Here we 
have the Xoyoc, OTtepuxxxiKoi , which Gregory objected to as somehow 
connected his mind with the infinite plurality of worlds. Yet his own 
account of the Resurrection of the flesh is nothing but Origenism, 
mitigated by the suppression of these taSyoi. With him, too, matter is 
nothing, it is a negative thing that can make and effect nothing: the soul, 
the ^cotikt] Stjvocjxk; does everything; it is gifted by him with a sort of 
ubiquity after death. 'Nothing can break its sympathetic union with the 
particles of the body.' It is not a long and difficult study for it to discern 
in the mass of elements that which is its own from that which is not its 
own. 'It watches over its property, as it were, until the Resurrection, 
when it will clothe 'itself in them anew.' It is only a change of names: the 
^6yo<; has become this ^cotikti, Stjvocjxk; or \|/ukti, which seems itself, 
almost unaided, to effect the whole Resurrection. Though he teaches as 
against Origen that the 'elements' are the same 'elements,' the body the 
same body as before, yet the strange importance both in activity and in 
substance which he attaches to the vv\cr\ even in the disembodied state 
seems to render a Resurrection of the flesh unnecessary. Here, too, his 
view of the plan of Redemption is at variance with his idealistic leanings. 
While Origen regarded the body, as it now is, as part of that 'vanity' 
placed upon the creature which was to be laid aside at last, Gregory's view 
of the design of God in creating man at all absolutely required the 
Resurrection of the flesh 3 (cbc; ocv auve7tap0e'ir| i& Ge'icp to yffivov). 
Creation was to be saved by man's carrying his created body into a higher 
world: and this could only be done by a resurrection of the flesh such as 
the Church had already set forth in her creed. 

Again, however, after parting with Origen upon this point, he meets him in 
the ultimate contemplation of Christ' s glorified humanity and of all 
glorified bodies. Both steadily refuse at last 'to know Christ according to 



51 

the flesh.' They depict His humanity as so absorbed in deity that all traces 
of His bodily nature vanish; and as with Christ, so finally with His true 
followers. This is far indeed from the Lamb that was slain, and the vision 
of S. John. In this heaven of theirs all individual or generic differences 
between rational creatures necessarily cease. 

Great, then, as are their divergences, especially in cosmogony, their 
agreements are maintained throughout. Gregory in the main accepts 
Origen's teaching, as far as he can accommodate it to the now more 
outspoken faith of the Church. What Redepending summarizes as the 
groundplan of Origen's whole way of thinking, Gregory has, with the 
necessary changes, appropriated. Both regard the history of the world as a 
movement between a beginning and an end in which are united every single 
spiritual or truly human nature in the world, and the Divine nature. This 
interval of movement is caused by the falling away of the free will of the 
creature from the divine: but it will come to an end, in order that the 
former union may be restored. In this summary they would differ only as 
to the closeness of the original trojan. Both, too, according to this, would 
regard 'man' as the final cause, and the explanation, and the center of 
God's plan in creation. 

Even in the special sphere of theology which the later needs of the Church 
forced into prominence, and which Gregory has made peculiarly his own, 
that of the doctrine of the Trinity, Gregory employs sometimes a method 
which he has caught from Origen. Origen supposes, not so much, as Plato 
did, that things below are images of things above, as that they have certain 
secret analogies or affinities with them. This is perhaps after all only a 
peculiar application for his own purpose of Plato's theory of ideas. There 
are mysterious sympathies between the earth and heaven. We must 
therefore read within ourselves the reflection of truths which are too much 
beyond our reach to know in themselves, with regard to the attributes of 
God this is more especially the case. But Origen never had the occasion to 
employ this language in explaining the mystery of the Trinity. Gregory is 
the first Father who has done so. He finds a key to it in the triple nature of 
our soul. The vovq, the Xoyot;, and the soul, form within us a unity such 
as that of the Divine hypostases. Gregory himself confesses that such 
thoughts about God are inadequate, and immeasurably below their object: 
but he cannot be blamed for employing this method, as if it was entirely 



52 

superficial. Not only does this instance illustrate trinity in unity, but we 
should have no contents for our thought about the Father, Son, and Spirit, 
if we found no outlines at all of their nature within ourselves. Denis well 
says that the history of the doctrine of the Trinity confirms this: for the 
advanced development of the theory of the Xoyo<;, a purely human 
attribute in the ancient philosophy, was the cause of the doctrine of the 
Son being so soon and so widely treated: and the doctrine of the Holy 
Spirit came into prominence only when He began to be regarded as the 
principle of the purely human or moral life, as Love, that is, or Charity. 
Gregory, then, had reason in recommending even a more systematic use of 
the method which he had received from Origen: 'Learn from the things 
within thee to know the secret of God; recognize from the Triad within 
thee the Triad by means of these matters which you realize: it is a 
testimony above and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospel.' 

He carries out elsewhere also more thoroughly than Origen this method of 
reading parables. He is an actual Mystic in this. The mysterious but real 
correspondences between earth and heaven, upon which, Origen had 
taught, and not upon mere thoughts or the artifices of language, the truth 
of a parable rests, Gregory employed, in order to penetrate the meaning of 
the whole of external nature. He finds in its facts and appearances 
analogies with the energies, and through them with the essence, of God. 
They are not to him merely indications of the wisdom which caused them 
and ordered them, but actual symptoms of the various energies which 
reside in the essence of the Supreme Being; as though that essence, having 
first been translated into the energies, was through them translated into the 
material creation; which was thus an earthly language saying the same 
thing as the heavenly language, word for word. The whole world thus 
became one vast allegory: and existed only to manifest the qualities of the 
Unseen. Akin to this peculiar development of the parable is another 
characteristic of his, which is alien to the spirit of Origen; his delight in 
natural scenery, his appreciation of it, and power of describing it. 

With regard to the question, so much agitated, of the 'AnoKaxaoxacic,, it 
may be said that not Gregory only but Basil and Gregory Nazianzen also 
have felt the influence of their master in theology, Origen. But it is due to 
the latter to say that though he dwells much on the "all in all" and insists 
much more on the sanctifying power of punishment than on the 



53 

satisfaction owed to Divine justice, yet no one could justly attribute to 
him, as a doctrine, the view of a Universal Salvation. Still these Greek 
Fathers, Origen and 'the three great Cappadocians,' equally showed a 
disposition of mind that left little room for the discussions that were soon 
to agitate the West. Their infinite hopes, their absolute confidence in the 
goodness of God, who owes it to Himself to make His work perfect, their 
profound faith in the promises and sacrifice of Christ, as well as in the 
vivifying action of the Holy Spirit, make the question of Predestination 
and Grace a very simple one with them. The word Grace occurs as often in 
them as in Augustine: but they do not make original sin a monstrous 
innovation requiring a remedy of a peculiar and overwhelming intensity. 
Passion indeed seems to Gregory of Nyssa himself one of the essential 
elements of the human soul. He borrows from the naturalists many 
principles of distinction between classes of souls and lives: he insists 
incessantly on the intimate connection between the physical growth and 
the development of the reason, and on the correlation between the one and 
the other: and we arrive at the conclusion that man in his eyes, as in 
Clement's, was not originally perfect, except in possibility; that being at 
once reasoning and sentient he must perforce feel within himself the 
struggle of reason and passion, and that it was inevitable that sin should 
enter into the world: it was a consequence of his mixed nature. This mixed 
nature of the first man was transmitted to his descendants. Here, though 
he stands apart from Origen on the question of man's original perfection, 
he could not have accepted the whole Augustinian scheme of original sin: 
and Grace as the remedy with him consists rather in the purging this mixed 
nature, than in the introduction into it of something absolutely foreign. 
The result, as with all the Greek Fathers, will depend on the co-operation 
of the free agent in this remedial work. Predestination and the 'bad will' 
are excluded by the Possibility and the 'free will' of Origen and Gregory. 



54 

CHAPTER 4 

HIS TEACHING ON THE HOLY TRINITY. 

To estimate the exact value of the work done by S. Gregory in the 
establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity and in the determination, so 
far as Eastern Christendom is concerned, of the terminology employed for 
the expression of that doctrine, is a task which can hardly be satisfactorily 
carried out. His teaching on the subject is so closely bound up with that of 
his brother, S. Basil of Csarea, — his "master," to use his own phrase, — 
that the two can hardly be separated with any certainty. Where a disciple, 
carrying on the teaching he has himself received from another, with 
perhaps almost imperceptible variations of expression, has extended the 
influence of that teaching and strengthened its hold on the minds of men, it 
must always be a matter of some difficulty to discriminate accurately 
between the services which the two have rendered to their common cause, 
and to say how far the result attained is due to the earlier, how far to the 
later presentment of the doctrine. But the task of so discriminating 
between the work of S. Basil and that of S. Gregory is rendered yet more 
complicated by the uncertainty attaching to the authorship of particular 
treatises which have been claimed for both. If, for instance, we could with 
certainty assign to S. Gregory that treatise on the terms ovaia and 
vmoaxaaic,, which Dorner treats as one of the works by which he 
"contributed materially to fix the uncertain usage of the Church," but 
which is found also among the works of S. Basil in the form of a letter 
addressed to S. Gregory himself, we should be able to estimate the nature 
and the extent of the influence of the Bishop of Nyssa much more 
definitely than we can possibly do while the authorship of this treatise 
remains uncertain. Nor does this document stand alone in this respect, 
although it is perhaps of more importance for the determination of such a 
question than any other of the disputed treatises. Thus in the absence of 
certainty as to the precise extent to which S. Gregory's teaching was 
directly indebted to that of his brother, it seems impossible to say how far 
the "fixing of the uncertain usage of the Church" was due to either of them 
singly. That together they did contribute very largely to that result is 



55 

beyond question: and it is perhaps superfluous to endeavor to separate 
their contributions, especially as there can be little doubt that S. Gregory 
at least conceived himself to be in agreement with S. Basil upon all 
important points, if not to be acting simply as the mouth-piece of his 
"master's" teaching, and as the defender of the statements which his 
"master" had set forth against possible misconceptions of their meaning. 
Some points, indeed, there clearly were, in which S. Gregory's 
presentment of the doctrine differs from that of S. Basil; but to these it 
may be better to revert at a later stage, after considering the more striking 
variation which their teaching displays from the language of the earlier 
Nicene school as represented by S. Athanasius. 

The council held at Alexandria in the year 365, during the brief restoration 
of S. Athanasius, shows us at once the point of contrast and the 
substantial agreement between the Western school, with which S. 
Athanasius himself is in this matter to be reckoned, and the Eastern 
theologians to whom has been given the title of Neo-Nicene." The 
question at issue was one of language, not of belief; it turned upon the 
sense to be attached to the word -u7t6cn;aoi<;. The Easterns, following a 
use of the term which may be traced perhaps to the influence of Origen, 
employed the word in the sense of the Latin "Persona," and spoke of the 
Three Persons as xpela vnvaxaaeiq, whereas the Latins employed the 
term "hypostasis" as equivalent to "substantia" to express what the 
Greeks called ovoia, — the one Godhead of the Three Persons. With the 
Latins agreed the older school of the orthodox Greek theologians, who 
applied to the Three Persons the phrase xp'ioc npoacona, speaking of the 
Godhead as pioc vnooTaaiq. This phrase, in the eyes of the newer 
Nicene school, was suspected of Sabellianism, while on the other hand the 
Westerns were inclined to regard the Eastern phrase xpei<; vmoaxaoic, as 
implying tritheism. The synodal letter sets forth to us the means by which 
the fact of substantial agreement between the two schools was brought to 
light, and the understanding arrived at, that while Arianism on the one 
hand and Sabellianism on the other were to be condemned, it was advisable 
to be content with the language of the Nicene formula, which employed 
neither the phrase jxioc vnoaiaoiq nor the phrase Tpei<; vnoozaoic, . 
This resolution, prudent as it may have been for the purpose of bringing 
together those who were in real agreement, and of securing that the 



56 

reconciled parties should, at a critical moment, present an unbroken front 
in the face of their common and still dangerous enemy, could hardly be 
long maintained. The expression xpei<; vnzooxaoic, was one to which 
many of the orthodox, including those who had formerly belonged to the 
Semi-Arian section, had become accustomed: the Alexandrine synod, under 
the guidance of S. Athanasius, had acknowledged the phrase, as used by 
them, to be an orthodox one, and S. Basil, in his efforts to conciliate the 
Semi-Arian party, with which he had himself been closely connected 
through his namesake of Ancyra and through Eustathius of Sebastia, saw 
fit definitely to adopt it. While S. Athanasius, on the one hand, using the 
older terminology, says that vnoaxacic, is equivalent to ovaia, and has 
no other meaning, S. Basil, on the other hand, goes so far as to say that the 
terms cuaioc and vnooTaaic,, even in the Nicene anathema, are not to be 
understood as equivalent. The adoption of the new phrase, even after the 
explanations given at Alexandria, was found to require, in order to avoid 
misconstruction, a more precise definition of its meaning, and a formal 
defense of its orthodoxy. And herein consisted one principal service 
rendered by S. Basil and S. Gregory; while with more precise definition of 
the term vnoaxaoic, there emerged, it may be, a more precise view of the 
relations of the Persons, and with the defense of the new phrase as 
expressive of the Trinity of Persons a more precise view of what is 
implied in the Unity of the Godhead. 

The treatise, De Sancta Trinitate is one of those which are attributed by 
some to S. Basil, by others to S. Gregory: but for the purpose of showing 
the difficulties with which they had to deal , the question of its exact 
authorship in unimportant. The most obvious objection alleged against 
their teaching was that which had troubled the Western theologians before 
the Alexandrine Council, — the objection that the acknowledgment of 
Three Persons implied a belief in Three Gods. To meet this, there was 
required a statement of the meaning of the term vnooTaaic,, and of the 
relation of, bvcia to vnoaxaoic,. Another objection, urged apparently by 
the same party as the former, was directed against the "novelty," or 
inconsistency, of employing in the singular terms expressive of the Divine 
Nature such as "goodness" or "Godhead," while asserting that the godhead 
exists in plurality of Persons. To meet these, it was required that the sense 



57 

in which the Unity of the Godhead was maintained should be more plainly 
and clearly defined. 

The position taken by S. Basil with regard to the terms ouaioc and 
vnzooxaciq is very concisely stated in his letter to Terentius. He says that 
the Western theologians themselves acknowledge that a distinction does 
exist between the two terms: and he briefly sets forth his view of the 
nature of that distinction by saying that ovaia is to vnocxaaic, as that 
which is common to individuals is to that in respect of which the 
individuals are naturally differentiated. He illustrates this statement by the 
remark that each individual man has his being x& ko'ivco xf|c; cuaiocf; Xoyco 
while he is differentiated as an individual man in virtue of his own 
particular attributes. So in the Trinity that which constitutes the ovaia 
(be it "goodness " or be it "Godhead") is common, while the vmoaiaoic, 
is marked by the Personal attribute of Fatherhood or Sonship or 
Sanctifying Power. This position is also adopted and set forth in greater 
detail in the treatise, De Diff. Essen, et HyposL, already referred to, where 
we find once more the illustration employed in the Epistle to Terentius. 
The Nature of the Father is beyond our comprehension; but whatever 
conception we are able to form of that Nature, we must consider it to be 
common also as to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; so far as the ouaioc is 
concerned, whatever is predicated of any one of the Persons may be 
predicated equally of each of the Three Persons, just as the properties of 
man, qua man, belong alike to Paul and Barnabas and Timothy: and as 
these individual men are differentiated by their own particular attributes, 
so each Person of the Trinity is distinguished by a certain attribute from 
the other two Persons. This way of putting the case naturally leads to the 
question, "If you say, as you do say, that Paul and Barnabas and Timothy 
are 'three men,' why do you not say that the Three Persons are 'three 
Gods?'" Whether the question was presented in this shape to S. Basil we 
cannot with certainty decide: but we may gather from his language 
regarding the applicability of number to the Trinity what his answer 
would have been. He says that in acknowledging One Father, One Son, 
One Holy Spirit, we do not enumerate them by computation, but assert 
the individuality, so to say, of each hypostasis — its distinctness from the 
others. He would probably have replied by saying that strictly speaking 
we ought to decline applying to the Deity, considered as Deity, any 



58 

numerical idea at all, and that to enumerate the Persons as "three" is a 
necessity, possibly, imposed upon us by language, but that no conception 
of number is really applicable to the Divine Nature or to the Divine 
Persons, which transcend number. To S. Gregory, however, the question 
did actually present itself as one demanding an answer, and his reply to it 
marks his departure from S. Basil's position, though, if the treatise, De. 
Dijf. Essen. etHyp. bes S. Basil's, S. Gregory was but following out and 
defending the view of his "master" as expressed in that treatise. 

S. Gregory's reply to the difficulty may be found in the letter, or short 
dissertation, addressed to Ablabius (Quod non sunt tres Dei), and in his 
treatise rcepi koivcov evvoicov. In the latter he lays it down that the term 
9e6<; is a term ovo'iaq armocvxiKov, not a term Ttpoaccmcov SnXcoxiKov: 
the Godhead of the Father is not that in which He maintains His 
indifferentiation from the Son: the Son is not God because He is Son, but 
because His essential Nature is what it is. Accordingly, when we speak of 
"God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost," the word and 
us employed to conjoin the terms expressive of the Persons, but the 
repeated term which is expressive of the Essence, and which therefore, 
while applied to each of the Three Persons, yet cannot properly be 
employed in the plural. That in the case of three individual "men" the term 
expressive of essence is employed in the plural is due, he says, to the fact 
that in this case there are circumstances which excuse or constrain such a 
use of the term "man" while such circumstances do not affect the case of 
the Holy Trinity. The individuals included under the term "man" vary 
alike in number and in identity, and thus we are constrained to speak of 
"men" as more or fewer, and in a certain sense to treat the essence as well 
as the persons numerically. In the Holy Trinity, on the other hand, the 
Persons are always the same, and their number the same. Nor are the 
Persons of the Holy Trinity differentiated, like individual men, by 
relations of time and place, and the like; the differentiation between them 
is based upon a constant casual relation existing among the Three Persons, 
which does not affect the unity of the Nature: it does not express the 
Being, but the mode of Being. The Father is the Cause; the Son and the 
Holy Spirit are differentiated from Him as being from the Cause, and again 
differentiated inter se as being immediately from the Cause, and 
immediately through that which is from the Cause. Further, while these 



59 

reasons may be alleged for holding that the cases are not in such a sense 
parallel as to allow that the same conclusion as to modes of speech should 
be drawn in both, he urges that the use of the term "men" is the plural is, 
strictly speaking, erroneous. We should, in strictness, speak not of "this 
or that man," but of "this or that hypostasis of man" — the "three men" 
should be described as "three hypostases" of common ova'ia "man." In 
the treatise addressed to Ablabius he goes over the same ground, clothing 
his arguments in a somewhat less philosophical dress; but he devotes more 
space to an examination of the meaning of the term 0eo<;, with a view to 
showing that it is a term expressive of operation, and thereby of essence, 
not at term which may be considered as applicable to any one of the 
Divine Persons in any such peculiar sense that it may not equally be 
applied also to the other two. His argument is partly based upon an 
etymology now discredited, but this does not affect the position he seeks 
to establish (a position which is also adopted in the treatise, De S. 
Trinitate), that names expressive of the Divine Nature, or of the Divine 
operation (by which alone that Nature is known to us) are employed, and 
ought to be employed, only in the singular. The unity and inseparability of 
all Divine operation, proceeding from the Father, advancing through the 
Son, and culminating in the Holy Spirit, yet setting forth one Kivnoic, of 
the Divine will, is the reason why the idea of plurality is not suffered to 
attach to these names, while the reason for refusing to allow, in regard to 
the three Divine Persons, the same laxity of language which we tolerate in 
regard to the case of three "men," is to be found in the fact that in the 
latter case no danger arises from the current abuse of language; no one 
thinks of "three human natures;" but on the other hand polytheism is a 
very real and serious danger, to which the parallel abuse of language 
involved in speaking of "three Gods" would infallibly expose us. 

S. Gregory's own doctrine, indeed, has seemed to some critics to be open 
to the charge of tritheism. But even if his doctrine were entirely expressed 
in the single illustration of which we have spoken, it does not seem that 
the charge would hold good, when we consider the light in which the 
illustration would present itself to him. The conception of the unity of 
human nature is with him a thing intensely vivid: it underlies much of his 
system, and he brings it prominently forward more than once in his more 
philosophical writings. We cannot, in fairness, leave his realism out of 



60 

account when we are estimating the force of his illustration: and therefore, 
while admitting that the illustration was not one unlikely to produce 
misconceptions of his teaching, we may fairly acquit him of any personal 
bias towards tritheism such as might appear to be involved in the 
unqualified adoption of the same illustration by a writer of our own time, 
or such as might have been attributed to theologians of the period of S. 
Gregory who adopted the illustration without the qualification of a realism 
as determined as his own. But the illustration does not stand alone: we 
must not consider that it is the only one of those to be found in the 
treatise, De Diff. Essen, et HyposL, which he would have felt justified in 
employing. Even if the illustration of the rainbow, set forth in that treatise, 
was not actually his own (as Dorner, ascribing the treatise to him, 
considers it to have been), it was at all events (on the other theory of the 
authorship), included in the teaching he had received from his "master:" it 
would be present to his mind, although in his undisputed writings, where 
he is dealing with objections brought against the particular illustration from 
human relations, he naturally confines himself to the particular illustration 
from which an erroneous inference was being drawn. In our estimate of his 
teaching the one illustration must be allowed to some extent to qualify the 
effect produced by the other. And, further, we must remember that his 
argument from human relations is professedly only an illustration. It 
points to an analogy, to a resemblance, not to an identity of relations; so 
much he is careful in his reply to state. Even if it were true, he implies, 
that we are warranted in speaking, in the given case, of the three human 
persons as "three men," it would not follow that we should be warranted 
thereby in speaking of the three Divine Persons as "three Gods." for the 
human personalities stand contrasted with the Divine, at once as regards 
their being and as regards their operation. The various human Ttpooccmoc 
draw their being from many other Ttpooccmoc one from one, another from 
another, not, as the Divine, from One, unchangeably the same: they 
operate, each in his own way, severally and independently, not, as the 
Divine, inseparably: they are contemplated each by himself, in his own 
limited sphere, koct iSiocv Ttepiypoccpriv not, as the Divine, in mutual 
essential connection, differentiated one from the other only by a certain 
mutual relation. And from this it follows that he human npoccona are 
capable of enumeration in a sense in which number cannot be considered 
applicable to the Divine Persons. Here we find S. Gregory's teaching 



61 

brought once more into harmony with his "master's:" if he has been 
willing to carry the use of numerical terms rather further than S. Basil was 
prepared to do, he yet is content in the last resort to say that number is 
not in strictness applicable to the Divine vmoaxaoeiq in that they cannot 
be contemplated koct iSiocv 7tepiypacpr|V, and therefore cannot be 
enumerated by way of addition. Still the distinction of the vnoaxaoeic, 
remains; and if there is no other way (as he seems to have considered there 
was none), making full acknowledgment of their distinct though 
inseparable existence than to speak of them as "three," he hold that that 
use of numerical language is justifiable, so long as we do not transfer the 
idea of number from the i)7toaTocaei<; to the ova'ia to that Nature of God 
which is Itself beyond our conception, and which we can only express by 
terms suggested to us by what we know of Its operation. 

Such, in brief, is the teaching of S. Gregory on the doctrine of the Holy 
Trinity, as expressed in the treatises in which he developed and defended 
those positions in which S. Basil appeared to diverge from the older 
Nicene theologians. That the terminology of the subject gained clearness 
and definiteness from his exposition, in that he rendered it plain that the 
adoption of the Eastern phraseology was a thing perfectly consistent with 
the Faith confessed alike by East and West in varying terms, seems 
beyond doubt. It was to him, probably, rather than to S. Basil, that this 
work was due; for he cleared up the points which S. Basil's illustration 
had left doubtful; yet in so doing he was using throughout the weapons 
which his "master" had placed in his hands, and arguing in favor of his 
"master's" statements, in language, it may be, less guarded than S. Basil 
himself would have employed, but in accordance throughout with the 
principles which S. Basil had followed. Each bore his own part in the 
common work: to one, perhaps, is due the credit of greater originality; to 
the other it was given to carry on and to extend what his brother had 
begun: neither, we may well believe, would have desired to claim that the 
work which their joint teaching effected should be imputed to himself 
alone. 

So far, we have especially had in view those minor treatises of S. Gregory 
which illustrate such variations from Athanasian modes of expression as 
are to be found in the writers of the "Neo-Nicene" school. These are 
perhaps his most characteristic works upon the subject. But the doctrine 



62 

of the Trinity, as he held it, is further set forth and enforced in other 
treatises which are, from another point of view, much more important than 
those with which we have been dealing — in his Or alio Catechatica, and 
his more directly polemical treatises against Eunomius. In both these 
sections of his writings, when allowance is made for the difference of 
terminology already discussed, we are less struck by the divergences from 
S. Athanasius' presentment of the doctrine than by the substantial 
identity of S. Gregory's reasoning with that of S. Athanasius, as the latter 
is displayed, for example, in the "Orations against the Arians." 

There are, of course, many points in which S. Gregory falls short of his 
great predecessor: but of these some may perhaps be accounted for by the 
different aspect of the Arian controversy as it presented itself to the two 
champions of the Faith. The later school of Arianism may indeed be 
regarded as a perfectly legitimate and rigidly logical development of the 
doctrines taught by Arius himself; but in some ways the task of S. 
Gregory was a different task from that of S. Athanasius, and was the less 
formidable of the two. His antagonist was, by his own greater definiteness 
of statement, placed at a disadvantage: the consequences which S. 
Athanasius had to extract from the Arian statements were by Eunomius 
and the Anomoeans either openly asserted or tactily admitted: and it was 
thus an easier matter for S. Gregory to show the real tendency of 
Anomoean doctrine than it had been for S. Athanasius to point out the real 
tendency of the earlier Arianism. Further, is may be said that by the time 
of S. Basil, still more by the time when W. Gregory succeeded to his 
brother's place in the controversy, the victory over Arianism was assured. 
It was not possible for S. Athanasius, even had it been in his nature to do 
so, to treat the earlier Arianism with the same sort of contemptuous 
criticism with which Eunomius is frequently met by S. Gregory. For S. 
Gregory, on the other hand, it was not necessary to refrain from such 
criticism lest he should thereby detract from the force of his protest 
against error. The crisis in his day was not one which demanded the same 
sustained effort for which the contest called in the days of S. Athanasius. 
Not and then, certainly, S. Gregory also rises to a white heat of indignation 
against his adversary: but it is hardly too much to say that his work 
appears to lack just those qualities which seem, in the writings of S. 
Athanasius, to have been called forth by the author's sense of the weight 



63 

of the force opposed to him, and of the "life and death" character of the 
contest. S. Gregory does not under-estimate the momentous nature of the 
questions at issue: but when he wrote, he might feel that to those 
questions the answer of Christendom had been already given, that the 
conflict was already won, and that any attempt at developing the Arian 
doctrine on Anomoean lines was the adoption of an untenable position, — 
even of a position manifestly and evidently untenable: the doctrine had but 
to be stated in clear terms to be recognized as incompatible with 
Christianity, and, that fact once recognized, he had no more to do. Thus 
much of his treatises against Eunomius consists not of constructive 
argument in support of his own position, but of a detailed examination of 
Eunomius' own statements, while a further portion of the contents of 
these books, by no means inconsiderable in amount, is devoted not so 
much to the deference of the Faith as to the refutation of certain 
misrepresentations of S. Basil's arguments which had been set forth by 
Eunomius. 

Even in the more distinctly constructive portion of these polemical 
writings, however, it may be said that S. Gregory does not show marked 
originality of thought either in his general argument, or in his mode of 
handling disputed texts. Within the limits of an introductory essay like the 
present, anything like detailed comparison on these points is of course 
impossible; but any one who will take the trouble to compare the 
discourses of S. Gregory against Eunomius with the "Orations" of S. 
Athanasius against the Arians, — the Athanasian writing, perhaps, most 
closely corresponding in character to these books of S. Gregory, — either 
as regards the specific passages of Scripture cited in support of the 
doctrine maintained, and the mode of interpreting them, or as to the 
methods of explanation applied to the texts alleged by the Arian writers in 
favor of their own opinions, can hardly fail to be struck by the number and 
the closeness of the resemblances which he will be able to trace between 
the earlier and the later representatives of the Nicene School. A somewhat 
similar relation to the Athanasian position, as regards the basis of belief, 
and (allowing for the difference of terminology) as regards the definition of 
doctrine, may be observed in the O ratio Catechetica. 

Such originality, in fact, as S. Gregory may claim to possess (so far as his 
treatment) of this subject is concerned) is rather the originality of the 



64 

tactician than that of the strategist: he deals rather with his particular 
opponent, and keeps in view the particular point in discussion more than 
the general area over which the war extends. S. Athanasius, on the other 
hand (partly, no doubt, because he was dealing with a less fully developed 
form of error), seems to have more force left in reserve. He presents his 
arguments in a more concise form, and is sometimes content to suggest an 
inference where S. Gregory proceeds to draw out conclusions in detail, and 
where thereby the latter, while possibly strengthening his presentment of 
the truth as against his own particular adversary, — against the Anomoean 
or the polytheist on the one side, or against the Sabellian or the Judaizer 
on the other, — renders his argument, considered per se as a defense of the 
orthodox position, frequently more diffuse and sometimes less forcible. 
Yet, even here, originality of a certain kind does belong to S. Gregory, and 
it seems only fair to him to say that in these treatises also he did good 
service in defense of the Faith touching the Holy Trinity. He shows that 
alike by way of formal statement of doctrine, as in the Oratio Catechetica, 
and by way of polemical argument, the forces at the command of the 
defenders of the Faith could be organized to meet varied forms of error, 
without abandoning, either for a more original theology like that or 
Marcellus of Ancyra, or for the compromise which the Homoean or 
Semi-Arian school were in danger of being led to accept, the weapons with 
which S. Athanasius had conquered at Nicaea. 



65 



CHAPTER 5 



Mss. And Editions. 

For the 13 Books Against Eunomius, the text of F. Oehler (S. Greg. Nyss. 
Opera. Tom. I. Halis, 1865) has in the following translations been almost 
entirely followed. 

The 1st Book was not in the 1st Paris Edition in two volumes (1615)1 but 
it was published three years afterwards from the 'Barvarain Codex,' i.e. 
that of Munich, by J. Grester in an Appendix, along with the Summaries 
(these headings of the sections of the entire work are by some admirer of 
Gregory's) and the two introductory Letters. Both the Summaries and the 
letters, and also nearly three-quarters of the 1st Book were obtained from 
J. Livineius' transcript of the Vatican MS. made at Rome, 1579. This 
Appendix was added to the 2nd Paris Edition, in three volumes (1638). 

In correcting these Paris Editions (for MSS. of which we see below), 
Oehler had access, in addition to the identical Munich MS. (paper, 16th 
century) which Grestser had used, to the following MSS.: — 

1. Venice (Library of S. Mark; cotton, 13 Cent., No. 69). This he says 
'wonderfully agrees' with the Munich (both, for instance, supply the 
lacunae of the Paris Edition of Book I.: he concludes, therefore, that these 
are not due to Gretser' s negligence, who gives the Latin for these passages, 
but to that of the printers.) 

2. Turin (Royal Library; cotton, 14 Cent. No. 71). 

3. Milan (Library of S. Ambrose; cotton, 13 Cent., No. 225, Plut. I; its 
inscription says that it was brought from Thessaly.) 

4. Florence (Library Medic. Laurent.; the oldest of all; parchment, 1 1 
Cent., No. 17, Plut vi. It contains the Summaries). 

These, and the Munich MS., which he chiefly used, are "all of the same 
family:" and from them he has been able to supply more than 50 lacunae in 
the Books against Eunomius. This family is the first of the two separated 



66 

by G.H. Forbes (see below). The Munich MS. (No. 47, on paper, 16 
Cent.), already used by Sifnaus for his Latin version (1562), and by 
Gretser for his Appendix, has the corrections of the former in its margin. 
These passed into the two Paris Editions; which, however, took no notice 
of his critical notes. When lent to Sifanus the MS. was in the Library of 
J.J. Fugger. Albert V. Duke of Bavaria purchased the treasures of Greek 
literature in this library, to found that in Munich. 

For the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, the Great Catechetical 
Oration, and the Funeral Oration on Meletius, John George Krabinger's 
text has been adopted. He had MSS. old and of a better stamp (Oehler) 
than were accessible to the Paris editors. Krabinger's own account of them 
is this: — 

On the Soul. 5. MSS. of 16th, 14th, and 11th Cent. All at Munich. 
In one of them there are scholia, some imported into the text by J. 
Naupliensis Murmureus the copyist; and Sifanus' corrections. 

The Hasselman, 14th Cent. J. Christopher Wolf, who annotated 
this treatise (Aneedota Graeca, Hamburgh, 1722), says of this MS. 
"very carefully written." It was lent by Zach. Hasselman, Minister 
of Oldenburgh. 

The 'Uffenbach,' 14th Cent., with var. lect. in margin. Lent to 

Wolf by the Polish ambassador at Frankfort on Main, at the 

request of Zach. Uffenbach. 

Catchetical Oration. 4 MSS. of 16th Cent., I of 13th Cent., 'much 

mutilated. ' All at Munich. 

On Meletius. 2 MSS. of 16th Cent., 1 of 10th Cent. All at Munich. 

His editions of the former appeared, at Leipzic, 1837; of the two latter, at 
Munich, 1838; all with valuable notes. 

For the treatise Against Macedonius, the only text available is that of 
Cardinal Angelo Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Collectio, Rome, 1833). It is taken 
from the Vatican MS. 'on silk.' The end of this treatise is not found in 
Mai. Perhaps it is in the MS. of Florence. 



67 

For fourteen of the Letters, Zacagni (Praefect of the Vatican Library, 
1698-1713) is the only editor. His text from the Vatican MS., No. 424, is 
printed in his Collectan. Monument, ret. Rome. 1698. 

He had not the use of the Medicean MS. which Caraccioli (see below) 
testifies to be much superior to the Vatican; there are lacunae in the latter, 
however, which Zacagni occasionally fills by a happy guess with the very 
words supplied by the Medicean. 

For the Letter to Adelphius, and that (on Church Architecture) to 
Amphilochius, J.B. Caraccioli (Professor of Philosophy at Pisa) furnishes a 
text (Florence, 1731) from the Medicean MS. The Letters in this collection 
are seven in all. Of the last of these (including that to Amphilochius) 
Bandinus says non sincerafide ex Codice descriptas, and that a fresh 
collation is necessary. 

For the treatise On the Making of Man, the text employed has been than of 
G.H. Forbes, (his first Fasciculus was published in 1855; his second in 
1861; both at Burntisland, at his private press), with an occasional 
preference for the readings of one or other of the MSS. examined by him or 
by others on his behalf. Of these he specifies twenty: but he had examined 
a much larger number. The MSS. which contain this work, he considers, 
are of two families. 

Of the first family the most important are three MSS. at Vienna, a 
tenth-century MS. on vellum at S. Mark's Venice, which he himself 
collated, and a Vatican MS. of the tenth century. This family also includes 
three of the four Munich MSS. collated for Forbes by Krabinger. 

The other family displays more variations from the current text. One 
Vienna MS. "pervetustus" "initio mutilus," was completely collated. Also 
belonging to this family are the oldest of the four Munich MSS., the 
tenth-century Codex Regius (Paris), and a fourteenth-century MS. at 
Christ Church, Oxford, clearly related to the last. 

The Codex Baroccianus (Bodleian, perhaps eleventh century) appears to 
occupy an independent position. 

For the other Treatises and Letters the text of the Paris Edition of 1638 
('plenior et emendatior' than that of 1615, according to Oehler, probably 



68 

following its own title, but "much inferior to that of 1615" Canon 
Venables, Diet. Christ. Biog., says and this is the judgment of J. Fessler) 
and of Migne have been necessary as the latest complete editions of the 
works of Gregory Nyssene. (All the materials that had been collected for 
the edition of the Benedictines of St. Maur perished in the French 
Revolution.) 

Of the two Paris Editions it must be confessed that they are based 'for the 
most part on inferior MSS.' (Oehler.) The frequent lacunae attest this. 
Fronto Ducaeus aided Claude, the brother of F. Morel, in settling the text, 
and the MSS. mentioned in the notes of the former are as follows: 

1. Pithoeus' "not of a very ancient hand," "as like F. Morel's (No. 2) as 
milk to milk." (so speaks John the Franciscan, who emended 'from one 
corrupt mutilated manuscript,' i.e. the above, the Latin translation of the 
Books against Eunomius made by his father N. Gulonius.) 

2. F. Morel's. ("Dean of Professors" and Royal Printer.) 

3. The Royal (in the Library of Henry II., Paris), on vellum, tenth century. 

4. Canter's ("ingens codex" sent from Antwerp by A. Schott; it had been 
written out for T. Canter, Senator of Utrecht.) 

5. Olivar's. "Multo emendatius" than (2.) 

6. J. Vulcobius', Abbot of Belpre. 

7. The Vatican. 

8. Bricman's (Cologne).for the treatise On Virginity. (The Paris Editors 
used Livineius' Edition, based on and.) 

9. OEgidius David's, I.C. Paris. 

10. The Bavarian (Munich) for Books II. — XIII. Against Eunomius and 
other treatises; only after the first edition of 1615. 

Other important MSS. existing for treatises here translated are 

On Pilgrimages: 

MS. Caesareus (Vienna): "valde vetustus" 

(Nessel, on the Imperial Library), vellum, 



69 

No. 160, burnt at beginning. 

MSS. Florence (xx. 17; xvi. 8). 

MS. Ley den (not older than fifteenth century). 

On the Making of Man: 

MS. Augsburgh, with twelve Homilies of Basil, 
the two last being wrongly attributed to 
Gregory (Reizer). 

MS. Ambrosian (Milan). See Montfaucon, 
Bibl. Bibliothec. 

On Infant's Early Deaths: 
MS. Turin (Royal Library). 

On the Soul and Resurrection: 

MSS. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Venice. 

Great Catechetical: 

MSS. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Caesareus. 

Many other MSS., for these and other treatises, are given by S. Heyns 
(Disputatio de Greg. Nyss. Leyden, 1835). But considering the mutilated 
condition of most of the oldest, and the still small number of treatises 
edited from an extended collation of these, the complaint is still true that 
'the text of hardly any other ancient writer is in a more imperfect state 
than that of Gregory of Nyssa.' 



Version Of Several Treatises. 



Latin. 



1. Of Dionysius Exiguus (died before 556): On the Making of Man. Aldine, 
1537. Cologne, 1551. Basle, 1562. Cologne, 1573. Dedicated to 
Eugippius.' This Dedication and the Latin of Gregory's Preface was only 
once printed (i.e. in J. Mabillon's Analecta, Paris, 1677.) 

This ancient Latin Version was revised by Fronto Ducaeus, the Jesuit, and 
Combeficius. There is a copy of it at Leyden. 

It stimulated J. Leunclaius (see below), who judged it "foeda pollutum 
barbaria planeque perversum," to make another. Basle, 1567. 

2. Of Daniel Augentius: On the Soul. Paris 1557. 



70 

3. Of Laurent. Sifanus, I. U. Doct.: On the Soul and many other treatises. 
Basle, 1562 Apud N. Episcopum. 

4. Of Pet. Galesinius: On Virginity and On Prayer. Rome, 1563, ap. P. 
Manutium. 

5. Of Johann. Leunclaius: On the making of Man. Basle 1567 ap. 
Oporinum. 

6. Of Pet. Morelius of Tours: Great Catechetical, Paris 1568 

7. Of Gentianus Hervetus, Canon of Rheims, a different translator of the 
Fathers: Great Catechical, and many others. Paris 1573 

8. Of Johann Livineius, of Ghent: On Virginity. Apud Plantinum, 1574. 

9. Of Pet. Fr. Zinus Canon of Verona tanslator of Euthymius' Panoplia, 
which contains the Great Catechetical. Venice 1575. 

10. Of Jacob Grester the Jesuit: /. E. Eunom Paris 1618 

11. Of Nicolas Gulonius, Reg. Prof, of Greek: //. — XIII. c. Eunom. Paris, 
1615. 

Revised by his son, John, the Franciscan. 

12. Of J. Georg. Krabinger, Librarian of Royal Library, Munich: On the 
Soul, Great Catechetical, On Infants ' Early Deaths, and others. Leipzix, 
1837. 

German. 

1. Of Glauber: Great Catechtical, etc. Gregroius von Nyssa und 
Augustinus uber den ersten Christlichen Reglions-unterricht. Leipzic, 
1781. 

2. Of Julius Rupp, Konigsberg: On Meletius. Gregors Leben und 
Meinungen. Leipzic, 1834. 

3. Of Oehler: Various treatises. Bibliothek der Kirchenvater I. Theil. 
Leipzic, 1858-59. 

4. Herm Schmidt, paraphrased rather than translated: On the Soul. Halle, 
1864. 

5. Of H. Hayd: On Infants' Early Deaths: On the Making of Man, &x. 
Kempton, 1874. 



71 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGAINST 
EUNOMIUS 

LETTER. 1 

Gregory to his brother Peter, Bishop of Sebasteia. 

Having with difficulty obtained a little leisure, I have been able to recover 
from bodily fatigue on my return from Armenia, and to collect the sheets 
of my reply to Eunomius which was suggested by your wise advice; so 
that my work is now arranged in a complete treatise, which can be read 
between covers. However, I have not written against both his pamphlets; 
even the leisure for that was not granted; for the person who lent me the 
heretical volume most uncourteously sent for it again, and allowed me no 
time either to write it out or to study it. In the short space of seventeen 
days it was impossible to be prepared to answer both his attacks. 

Owing to its somehow having become notorious that we had labored to 
answer this blasphemous manifest, many persons possessing some zeal 
for the Truth have importuned me about it: but I have thought it right to 
prefer you in your wisdom before them all, to advise me whether to 
consign this work to the public, or to take some other course. The reason 
why I hesitate is this. When our saintly Basil fell asleep, and I received the 
legacy of Eunomius' controversy, when my heart was hot within me with 
bereavement, and, besides this deep sorrow for the common loss of the 
church, Eunomius had not confined himself to the various topics which 
might pass as a defense of his views, but had spent the chief part of his 
energy in laboriously-written abuse of our father in God. I was 
exasperated with this, and there were passages where the flame of my 
heart-felt indignation burst out against this writer. The public have 
pardoned us for much else, because we have been apt in showing patience 
in meeting lawless attacks, and as far as possible have practices that 
restraint in feeling which the saint has taught us; but I had fears lest from 
what we have now written against this opponent the reader should get the 
idea that we were very raw controversialists, who lost our temper directly 



72 

at insolent abuse. Perhaps, however, this suspicion about us will be 
disarmed by remembering that this display of anger is not on our own 
behalf, but because of insults levelled against our father in God; and that it 
is a case in which mildness would be more unpardonable than anger. 

If, then, the first part of my treatise should seem somewhat outside the 
controversy, the following explanation of it will, I think, be accepted by a 
reader who can judge fairly. It was not right to leave undefended the 
reputation of our noble saint, mangled as it was by the opponent' s 
blasphemies, any more than it was convenient to let this battle in his 
behalf be spread diffusely along the whole thread of the discussion; 
besides, if anyone reflects, these pages do really form part of the 
controversy. Our adversary's treatise has two separate arms, viz. to abuse 
us and to controvert sound doctrine; and therefore ours too must show a 
double front. But for the sake of clearness, and in order that the thread of 
the discussion upon matters of the Faith should not be cut by parentheses, 
consisting of answers to their personal abuse, we have separated our work 
into two parts, and devoted ourselves in the first to refute these charges: 
and then we have grappled as best we might with that which they have 
advanced against the Faith. Our treatise also contains, in addition to a 
refutation of their heretical veils, a dogmatic exposition of our own 
teaching; for it would be a most shameful want of spirit, when our foes 
make no concealment of their blasphemy, not to be bold in our statement 
of the Truth. 

To his most pious brother Gregory. Peter greeting in the Lord. 
Having met with the writings of your holiness and having perceived in 
your tract against this heresy your zeal both for the truth and for our 
sainted father in God, I judge that this work was not due simply to your 
own ability, but was that of one who studied that the Truth should speak, 
even in the publication of his own views. To the Holy Spirit of truth I 
would refer this plea for the truth; just as to the father of lies, and not to 
Eunomius, should be referred this animosity against sound faith. Indeed, 
that murderer from the beginning who speaks in Eunomius had carefully 
whetted the sword against himself; for if he had not been so bold against 
the truth, no one would have roused you to undertake the cause of our 
religion. But to the end that the rottenness and flimsiness of their doctrines 
may be exposed, He who "taketh the wise in their own craftiness" hath 



73 

allowed them both to be headstrong against the truth, and to have labored 
vainly on this vain speech. 

But since he that hath begun a good work will finish it, faint not in 
furthering the Spirit' s power, nor leave half- won the victory over the 
assailants of Christ's glory; but imitate thy true father, who, like the 
zealot Phineas, pierced with one stroke of his Answer both master and 
pupil. Plunge with thy intellectual arm the sword of the Spirit through 
both these heretical pamphlets, lest, though broken on the head, the 
serpent affright the simpler sort by still quivering in the tail. When the 
first arguments have been answered, should the last remain unnoticed, the 
many will suspect that they still retain some strength against the truth. 

The feeling shown in your treatise will be grateful, as salt, to the palate of 
the soul. As bread cannot be eaten, according to Job, without salt, so the 
discourse which is not savored with the inmost sentiments of God's word 
will never wake, and never move, desire. 

Be strong, then, in the thought that thou art a beautiful example to 
succeeding times of the way in which good-hearted children should act 
towards their virtuous fathers. 



74 



BOOK I 

1. Preface. — It is useless to attempt to benefit those who will not 
accept help. 

IT seems that the wish to benefit all, and to lavish indiscriminately upon 
the first comer one's own gifts, was not at thing altogether commendable, 
or even free from reproach in the yes of many; seeing that the gratuitous 
waste of many prepared drugs on the incurably-diseased produces no 
result worth caring about, either in the way of gain to the recipient, or 
reputation to the would-be benefactor. Rather such an attempt becomes in 
many cases the occasion of a change for the worse. The 
hopelessly-diseased and now dying patient receives only a speedier end 
from the more active medicines; the fierce unreasonable temper is only 
made worse by the kindness of the lavished pearls, as the Gospel tells us. 
I think it best, therefore, in accordance with the Divine command, for any 
one to separate the valuable from the worthless when either have to be 
given away, and to avoid the pain which a generous giver must receive 
from one who 'treads upon is pearl,' and insults him by his utter want of 
feeling for its beauty. 

This thought suggests itself when I think of one who freely communicated 
to others the beauties of his own soul, I mean that man of God, that mouth 
of piety, Basil; one who from the abundance of his spiritual treasures 
poured his grace of wisdom into evil souls whom he had never tested, and 
into one among them, Eunomius, who was perfectly insensible to all the 
efforts made for his good. Pitiable indeed seemed the condition of this 
poor man, from the extreme weakness of his soul in the matter of the 
Faith, to all true members of the Church; for who is so wanting in feeling 
as not to pity, at least, a perishing soul? But Basil alone, from the abiding 
ardor of his love, was moved to undertake his cure, and therein to attempt 
impossibilities; he alone took so much to heart the man's desperate 
condition, as to compose, as an antidote of deadly poisons, his refutation 
of this heresy, which aimed at saving its author, and restoring him to the 
Church. 



75 

He, on the contrary, like one beside himself with fury, resists his doctor; 
he fights and struggles; he regards as a bitter foe one who only put forth 
his strength to drag him from the abyss of misbelief; and he does not 
indulge in this foolish anger only before chance hearers now and then; he 
has raised against himself a literary monument to record this blackness of 
his bile; and when in long years he got the requisite amount of leisure, he 
was travailing over his work during all that interval with mightier pangs 
than those of the largest and the bulkiest beasts; his threats of what was 
coming were dreadful, whilst he was still secretly moulding his conception: 
but when as last and with great difficulty he brought it to the light, it was a 
poor little abortion, quite prematurely born. However, those who share his 
ruin nurse it and coddle it; while we, seeking the blessing in the prophet 
("Blessed shall he be who shall take thy children, and shall dash them 
against the stones") are only eager, not that it has got into our hands, to 
take this puling manifesto and dash it on the rock, as it was one of the 
children of Babylon; and the rock must be Christ; in other words , the 
enunciation of the truth. Only may that power come upon us which 
strengthens weakness, through the prayers of him who made his own 
strength perfect in bodily weakness. 

2. We have been justly provoked to make this Answer, being stung by Eunomius' 

accusations of our brother. 

If indeed that godlike and saintly soul were still in the flesh looking out 
upon human affairs, if those lofty tones were still heard with all their 
peculiar grace and all their resistless utterance, who could arrive at such a 
pitch of audacity, as to attempt to speak one word upon this subject? that 
divine trumpet- voice would drown any word that could be uttered, but all 
of him has now flown back to God; at first indeed in the slight shadowy 
phantom of his body, he still rested on the earth; but now he has quite 
shed even that unsubstantial form, and bequeathed it to this world. 
Meantime the drones are buzzing round the cells of the Word, and are 
plundering the honey; so let no one accuse me of mere audacity for rising 
up to speak instead of those silent lips. I have not accepted this laborious 
task from any consciousness in myself of powers arguments superior to 
the others who might be named; I, if any, have the means of knowing that 
there are thousands in the Church who are strong in the gift of philosophic 
skill. Nevertheless I affirm that, both by the written and the natural law, to 



76 

me more especially belongs this heritage of the departed, and therefore I 
myself, in preference to others appropriate the legacy of the controversy. 
I may be counted amongst the least of those who are enlisted in the 
Church of God, but still I am not too weak to stand out as her champion 
against one who has broken with that Church. The very smallest member 
of a vigorous body would, by virtue of the unity of its life with the whole, 
be found stronger than one that has been cut away and was dying, 
however large the latter and small the former. 

3. We see nothing remarkable in logical force in the treatise of Eunomius, and so 
embark on our Answer with a just confidence. 

Let no one thing, that in saying this I exaggerate and make an idle boast of 
doing something which is beyond by strength. I shall not be led by any 
boyish ambition to descend to his vulgar level in a contest of mere 
arguments and phrases. Where victory is a useless and profitless thing, we 
yield it readily to those who wish to win; besides, we have only to look at 
this man's long practice in controversy, to conclude that he is quite a 
word-practitioner, and, in addition, at the fact that he has spent no small 
portion of his life on the composition of this treatise, and at the supreme 
joy of his intimates over these labors, to conclude that he has taken 
particular trouble with this work. It was not improbable that one who had 
labored at it for so many Olympiads would produce something better than 
the work of extempore scribblers. Even the vulgar profusion of the figures 
he uses in concocting his work is a further indication of this laborious care 
in writing. He has got a great mass of newly assorted terms, for which he 
has put certain other books under contribution, and he piles this immense 
congeries of words on a very slender nucleus of thought; and so he has 
elaborated this highly- wrought production, which his pupils in error are 
lost in the admiration of; — no doubt, because of their deadness on the 
vital points deprives them of the power of feeling the distinction between 
beauty and the reverse: — but which is ridiculous, and of no value at all in 
the judgment of those, whose hearts' insight is not dimmed with any soil 
of unbelief. How in the world can it contribute to the proof (as he hopes) 
of what he says and the establishment of the truth of his speculations, to 
adopt these absurd devices in his forms of speech, this new-fangled and 
peculiar arrangement, this fussy conceit, and this conceited fussiness, 
which works with no enthusiasm for any previous model? For it would be 



77 

indeed difficult to discover who amongst all those who have been 
celebrated for their eloquence he has had his eye on, in bringing himself to 
this pitch; for he is like those who produce effects upon the stage, 
adapting his argument to the tune of his rhythmical phrases, as they their 
song to their castenets, by means of parallel sentences of equal length, of 
similar sound and similar ending. Such, amongst many other faults, are the 
neverless quaverings and the meretricious tricks of his Introduction; and 
one might fancy him bringing them all out, not with an unimpassioned 
action, but with stamping of the feet and sharp snapping of the fingers 
declaiming to the time thus beaten, and then remarking that there was no 
need of other arguments and a second performance after that. 

4. Eunomius displays much follow and fine writing, but very little seriousness 

about vital points. 

In these and such like antics I allow him to have the advantage; and to his 
heart's content he may revel in his victory there. Most willingly I forego 
such a competition, which can attract those only who seek renown; if 
indeed any renown comes from indulging in such methods of 
argumentation, considering that Paul, that genuine minister of the Word, 
whose only ornament was truth, both disdained himself to lower his style 
to such prettinesses, and instructs us also, in a noble and appropriate 
exhortation, to fix our attention on truth alone. What need for one who is 
fair in the beauty of truth to drag in the paraphernalia of a decorator for 
the production of a false artificial beauty? Perhaps for those who do not 
possess truth it may be an advantage to varnish their falsehoods with an 
attractive style, and to rub into the grain of their arguments a curious 
polish. When their error is taught in far-fetched language and decked out 
with all the affections of style, they have a chance of being plausible and 
accepted by their hearers. But those whose only aim is simple truth, 
unadulterated by any misguiding foil, find the light of a natural beauty 
emitted from their words. 

But now that I am about to begin the examination of all that he has 
advanced, I feel the same difficulty as a farmer does, when the air is calm; I 
know not how to separate his wheat from his chaff; the waste, in fact, and 
the chaff in this pile of words is so enormous, that it makes one think that 
the residue of facts and real thoughts in all that he has said is almost nil. It 
would be the worse for speed and very irksome, it would even be beside 



78 

our object, to go into the whole of his remarks in detail; we have not the 
means for securing so much leisure so as wantonly to devote it to such 
frivolities; it is the duty, I think, of a prudent workman not to waste his 
strength on trifles, but on that which will clearly repay his toil. 

As to all the things, then, in his Introduction, how he constitutes himself 
truth's champion, and fixes the charge of unbelief upon his opponents, and 
declares that an abiding and indelible hatred for them has sunk into his 
soul, how he struts in his 'new discoveries,' though he does not tell us 
what they are, but says only that an examination of the debatable points in 
them was set on foot, a certain 'legal' trial which placed on those who 
were caring to act illegally the necessity of keeping quiet, or to quote his 
own words in that Lydian style of singing which he has got, "the bold 
law-breakers — in open court — were forced to be quiet;" (he calls this a 
"proscription" of the conspiracy against him, whatever may be meant by 
that term; — all this wearisome business I pass by as quite unimportant. 
On the other hand, all his special pleading for his heretical conceits may 
well demand our close attention. Our own interpreter of the principles of 
divinity followed this course in his Treatise; for though he had plenty of 
ability to broaden out his argument, he took the line of dealing only with 
vital points, which he selected from all the blashphemies of that heretical 
book, and so narrowed the scope of the subject. 

If, however, any one desires that our answer should exactly correspond to 
the array of his arguments, let him tell us the utility of such a process. 
What fain would it be to by readers if I were to solve the complicated 
riddle of his title, which he proposes to us at the very commencement, in 
the manner of the sphinx of the tragic state; namely this 'New Apology 
for the Apology,' and all the nonsense which he writes about that; and if I 
were to tell the long tale of what he dreamt? I think that the reader is 
sufficiently wearied with the petty vanity about this newness in his title 
already preserved in Eunomius' own text, and with the want of taste 
displayed there in the account of his own exploits, all his labors and his 
trials, while he wandered over every land and every sea, and was 
'heralded' through the whole world. If all that had to be written down over 
again, — and with additions, took as the refutations of these falsehoods 
would naturally have to expand their statement, — who would be found of 
such an iron hardness as not to be sickened at this waste of labor? 



79 

Suppose I was to write down, taking word for word, an explanation of 
that mad story of his; suppose I were to explain, for instance, who that 
Armenian was on the shores of the Euxine, who had annoyed him at first 
by having the same name as himself, what their lives were like, what their 
pursuits, how he had a quarrel with that Armenian because of the very 
likeness of their characters, then in what fashion those two were 
reconciled, so as to join in a common sympathy with that winning and 
most glorious Aetius, his master (for so pompous are his praises); and 
after that, what was the plot devised against himself, by which they 
brought him to trial on the charge of being surpassedly popular; suppose, I 
say, I was to explain all that, should I not appear, like those who catch 
opthalmia themselves from frequent contact with those who are already 
suffering so, to have caught myself this malady of fussy circumstantiality? 
I should be following step by step each detail of his twaddling story; 
finding out who the "slaves released to liberty" were, what was "the 
conspiracy of the initiated" and "the calling out of hired slaves," what 
'Montius and Gallus, and Domitian,' and 'false witnesses,' and 'an 
enraged Emperor,' and 'certain sent into exile' have to do with the 
argument. What could be more useless than such tales for the purpose of 
one who was not wishing merely to write a narrative, but to refute the 
argument of him who had written against his heresy? What follows in the 
story is still more profitless; I do not think that the author himself could 
peruse it again without yawning, though a strong natural affection for his 
offspring does possess every father. He pretends to unfold there his 
exploits and is sufferings; the style rears itself into the sublime, and the 
legend swells into the tones of tragedy. 

5. His peculiar caricature of the bishops, Eustathius of Armenia and Basil of 

Galactia, is not well drawn. 

But, not to linger longer on these absurdities in the very act of declining to 
mention them, and not to soil this book by forcing my subject through all 
his written reminiscences, like one who urges his horse through a slough 
and so gets covered with its filth, I think it best to leap over the mass of 
his rubbish with as high and as speedy a jump as my thoughts are capable 
of, seeing that a quick retreat from what is disgusting is a considerable 
advantage; and let us hasten on to the finale of his story, lest the bitterness 
of his own words should trickle into my book. Let Eunomius have the 



80 

monopoly of the bad taste in such words as these, spoken of God's 
priests, "curmudgeon squires, and beadles, and satellites, rummaging 
about, and not suffering the fugitive to carry out his concealment," and all 
the other things which he is not ashamed to write of grey-haired priests. 
Just as in the schools for secular learning, in order to exercise the boys to 
be ready in word and wit, they propose themes for declamation, in which 
the person who is the subject of them is nameless, so does Eunomius make 
an onset at once upon the facts suggested, and lets loose the tongue of 
invective, and without saying one word as to nay actual villianies, he 
merely works up against them all the hackneyed phrases of contempt, and 
every imaginable term of abuse; in which, besides, incongruous ideas are 
brought together, such as a 'dilettante soldier,' 'an accursed saint,' 'pale 
with fast, and murderous with hate,' and many such like scurrilities; and 
just like a reveller in the secular processions shouts his ribaldry, when he 
would carry his insolence to the highest pitch, without his mask on, so 
does Eunomius, without attempt to veil his malignity, shout with brazen 
throat the language of the waggon. Then he reveals the cause why he is so 
enraged; 'these priests took every precaution that many should not' be 
perverted to the error of these heretics; accordingly he is angry that they 
could not stay at their convenience in the places they liked, but that a 
residence was assigned them by order of the then governor of Phrygia, so 
that most might be secured from such wicked neighbors; his indignation at 
this bursts out in these words; 'the excessive severity of out trials,' 'our 
grievous sufferings,' 'our noble endurance of them,' 'the exile from our 
native country into Phrygia.' Quite so; this Oltiserian might well be proud 
of what occurred, putting an end as it did to all his family pride, and 
casting such a slur upon his race that that far-renowned Priscus, his 
grandfather, from whom he gets those brilliant and most remarkable 
heirlooms, "the mill, and the leather, and the slaves' stores," and the rest 
of his inheritance in Chanaan, would never have chosen this lot, which 
now makes him so angry. It was to be expected that he would revile those 
who were the agents of this exile. I quite understand his feeling. Truly the 
authors of these misfortunes, if such there be or ever have been, deserve 
the censures of these men, in that the renown of their former lives is 
thereby obscured, and they are deprived of the opportunity of mentioning 
and making much of their more impressive antecedents; the great 
distinctions with which each started in life; the professions they inherited 



from their fathers; the greater or the smaller marks of gentility of which 
each was conscious, even before they became so widely known and valued 
that even emperors numbered them amongst their acquaintance, as he now 
boasts in his book, and that all the higher governments were roused about 
them and the world was filled with their doings. 

6. A notice of Aetius, Eunomius' master in heresy, and of Eunomius himself, 
describing the origin and avocations of each. 

Verily this did great damage to our declamation- writer, or rather to his 
patron and guide in life, Aetius; whose enthusiasm indeed appears to me 
to have aimed not so much at the propagation of error as to the securing a 
competence for life. I do not say this as a mere surmise of my own, but I 
have heard it from the lips of those who knew him well. I have listened to 
Athanasius, the former bishop of the Galatians, when he was speaking of 
the life of Aetius; Athanasius was a man who valued truth above all things; 
and he exhibited also the letter of George of Laodicaea, so that a number 
might attest the truth of his words. He told us that originally Aetius did 
not attempt to teach his monstrous doctrines, but only after some interval 
of time put forth these novelties as a trick to gain his livelihood; that 
having escaped from serfdom in the vineyard to which he belonged, — 
how, I do not wish to say, lest I should be thought to be entering on his 
history in a bad spirit, — he became at first a tinker, and had this grimy 
trade of a mechanic quite at his fingers' end, sitting under a goat's-hair 
tent, with a small hammer, and a diminutive anvil, and so earned a 
precarious and laborious livelihood. What income, indeed, of any account 
could be made by one who mends the shaky places in coppers, and solders 
holes up, and hammers sheets of tin to pieces, and clamps with lead the 
legs of pots? We were told that a certain incident which befell him in this 
trade necessitated the next change in his life. He had received from a 
woman belonging to a regiment a gold ornament, a necklace or a bracelet, 
which had been broken by a blow, and which he was to mend: but he 
cheated the poor creature, by appropriating her gold trinket, and giving her 
instead one of copper, of the same size, and also of the same appearance, 
owing to a gold-wash which he had imparted to its surface; she was 
deceived by this for a time, for he was clever enough in the tinker's, as in 
other, arts to mislead his customers with the tricks of trade; but at last she 



82 

detected the rascality, for the wash got rubbed off the copper; and, as 
some of the soldiers of her family and nation were roused to indignation, 
she prosecuted the purloiner of her ornament. After this attempt he of 
course underwent a cheating thief's punishment; and then left the trade, 
swearing that it was not his deliberate intention, but that business tempted 
him to commit this theft. After this he became assistant to a certain doctor 
from amongst the quacks, so as not to be quite destitute of a livelihood; 
and in this capacity he made his attack upon the obscurer households and 
on the most abject of mankind. Wealth came gradually from his plots 
against a certain Armenius, who being a foreigner was easily cheated, and, 
having been induced to make him his physician, had advanced him frequent 
sums of money; and he began to think that serving under others was 
beneath him, and wanted to be styled a physician himself. Henceforth, 
therefore, he attended medical congresses, and consorting with the 
wrangling controversialists there became one of the ranters, and, just as the 
scales were turning, always adding his own weight to the argument, he got 
to be in no small request with those who would buy a brazen voice for 
their party contests. 

But although his bread became thereby well buttered he thought he ought 
not to remain in such a profession; so he gradually gave up the medical, 
after the tinkering. Arius, the enemy of God, had already sown those 
wicked tares which bore the Anomaeans as their fruit, and the schools of 
medicine resounded then with the disputes about that question. 
Accordingly Aetius studied the controversy, and, having laid a train of 
syllogisms from what he remembered of Aristotle, he became notorious for 
even going beyond Arius, the father of the heresy, in the novel character of 
his speculations; or rather he perceived the consequences of all that Arius 
had advanced, and so got this character of a shrewd discoverer of truths 
not obvious; revealing as he did that the Created, even from things 
non-existent, was unlike the Creator who drew Him out of nothing. 

With such propositions he tickled ears that itched for these novelties; and 
the Ethiopian Theophilus becomes acquainted with them. Aetius had 
already been connected with this man on some business of Gallus; and 
now by his help creeps into the palace. After Gallus had perpetrated the 
tragedy with regard to Domitian the procurator and Montius, all the other 
participators in it naturally shared his ruin; yet this man escapes, being 



83 

acquitted from being punished along with them. After this, when the great 
Athanasius had been driven by Imperial command from the Church of 
Alexandria, and George the Tarbasthenite was tearing his flock, another 
change takes place, and Aetius is an Alexandrian, receiving his full share 
amongst those who fattened at the Cappadocian's board; for he had not 
omitted to practice his flatteries on George. George was in fact from 
Chanaan himself, and therefore felt kindly towards a countryman: indeed 
he had been for long so possessed with his perverted opinions as actually 
to dote upon him, and was prone to become a godsend for Aetius, 
whenever he liked. 

All this did not escape the notice of his sincere admirer, our Eunomius. 
This latter perceived that his natural father — an excellent man, except 
that he had such a son — led a very honest and respectable life certainly, 
but one of laborious penury and full of countless toils. (He was one of 
those farmers who are always bent over the plough, and spend a world of 
trouble over their little farm; and in the winter, when he was secured from 
agricultural work, he used to carve out neatly the letters of the alphabet for 
boys to form syllables with, winning his bread with the money these sold 
for.) Seeing all this in his father's life, he said good-bye to the plough and 
the mattock and all the paternal instruments, intending never to drudge 
himself like that; then be sets himself to learn Prunicus' skill of short-hand 
writing, and having perfected himself in that he entered at first, I believe, 
the house of one of his own family, receiving his board for his services in 
writing; then, while tutoring the boys of his host, he rises to the ambition 
of becoming an orator. I pass over the next interval, both as to his life in 
his native country and as to the things and the company in which he was 
discovered at Constantinople. 

Busied as he was after this 'about the cloke and the purse,' he saw it was 
all of little avail, and that nothing which he could amass by such work was 
adequate to the demands of his ambition. Accordingly he threw up all 
other practices, and devoted himself solely to the admiration of Aetius; 
not, perhaps, without some calculation that this absorbing pursuit which 
he selected might further his own devices for living. In fact, from the 
moment he asked for a share in a wisdom so profound, he toiled not 
thenceforward, neither did he spin; for he is certainly clever in what he 
takes in hand, and knows how to gain the more emotional portion of 



84 

mankind. Seeing that human nature, as a rule, falls an easy prey to 
pleasure, and that its natural inclination in the direction of this weakness is 
very strong, descending from the sterner heights of conduct to the smooth 
level of comfort, he becomes with a view of making the largest number 
possible of proselytes to his pernicious opinions very pleasant indeed to 
those whom he is initiating; he gets rid of the toilsome steep of virtue 
altogether, because it is not a persuasive to accept his secrets. But should 
any one have the leisure to inquire what this secret teaching of theirs is, 
and what those who have been duped to accept this blighting curse utter 
without any reserve, and what in the mysterious ritual of initiation they 
are taught by the reverend hierophant, the manner of baptisms, and the 
'helps of nature,' and all that, let him question those who feel no 
compunction in letting indecencies pass their lips; we shall keep silent. For 
not even though we are the accusers should we be guiltless in mentioning 
such things, and we have been taught to reverence purity in word as well 
as deed, and not to soil our pages with equivocal stories, even though there 
be truth in what we say. 

But we mention what we then heard (namely that, just as Aristotle's evil 
skill supplied Aetius with his impiety, so the simplicity of his dupes 
secured a fat living for the well-trained pupil as well as for the master) for 
the purpose of asking some questions. What after all was the great damage 
done him by Basil on the Euxine, or by Eustathius in Armenia, to both of 
whom that long digression in his story harks back? How did they mar the 
aim of his life? Did they not rather feed up his and his companion's 
freshly acquired fame? Whence came their wide notoriety, if not through 
the instrumentality of these men, supposing, that is, that their accuser is 
speaking the truth? For the fact that men, themselves illustrious, as our 
writer owns, deigned to fight with those who had as yet found no means 
of being known naturally gave the actual start to the ambitious thoughts of 
those who were to be pitted against these reputed heroes; and a veil was 
thereby thrown over their humble antecedents. They in fact owed their 
subsequent notoriety to this, — a thing detestable indeed to a reflecting 
mind which would never choose to rest fame upon an evil deed, but the 
acme of bliss to characters such as these. They tell of one in the province 
of Asia, amongst the obscurest and the basest, who longed to make a name 
in Ephesus; some great and brilliant achievement being quite beyond his 



85 

powers never even entered his mind; and yet, by hitting, upon that which 
would most deeply injure the Ephesians, he made his mark deeper than the 
heroes of the grandest actions; for there was amongst their public buildings 
one noticeable for its peculiar magnificence and costliness; and he burnt 
this vast structure to the ground, showing, when men came to inquire after 
the perpetration of this villainy into its mental causes, that he dearly 
prized notoriety, and had devised that the greatness of the disaster should 
secure the name of its author being recorded with it. The secret motive of 
these two men is the same thirst for publicity; the only difference is that 
the amount of mischief is greater in their case. They are marring, not 
lifeless architecture, but the living building of the Church, introducing, for 
fire, the slow canker of their teaching. But I will defer the doctrinal 
question till the proper time comes. 

7. Eunomius himself proves that the confession of faith which He made was not 

impeached. 

Let us see for a moment now what kind of truth is dealt with by this man, 
who in his Introduction complains that it is because of his telling the truth 
that he is hated by the unbelievers; we may well make the way he handles 
truth outside doctrine teach us a test to apply to his doctrine itself. "He 
that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is 
unjust in the least is unjust also in much." Now, when he is beginning to 
write this "apology for the apology" (that is the new and startling title, as 
well as subject, of his book) he says that we must look for the cause of 
this very startling announcement nowhere else but in him who answered 
that first treatise of his. That book was entitled an Apology; but being 
given to understand by our master-theologian that an apology can only 
come from those who have been accused of something, and that if a man 
writes merely from his own inclination his production is something else 
than an apology, he does not deny — it would be too manifestly absurd 
— that an apology requires a preceding accusation; but he declares that his 
'apology' has cleared him from very serious accusations in the trial which 
has been instituted against him. How false this is, is manifest from his own 
words. He complained that "many heavy sufferings were inflicted on him 
by those who had condemned him"; we may read that in his book. 



86 

But how could he have suffered so, if his 'apology' cleared him of these 
charges? If he successfully adopted an apology to escape from these, that 
pathetic complaint of his is a hypocritical pretense; if on the Other hand 
he really suffered as he says, then, plainly, he suffered because he did not 
clear himself by an apology; for every apology, to be such, has to secure 
this end, namely, to prevent the voting power from being misled by any 
false statements. Surely he will not now, attempt to say that at the time of 
the trial he produced his apology, but not being able to win over the jury 
lost the case to the prosecution. For he said nothing at the time of the trial 
'about producing his apology;' nor was it likely that he would, considering 
that he distinctly states in his book that he refused to have anything to do 
with those ill-affected and hostile dicasts. "We own," he says, "that we 
were condemned by default: there was a packed panel of evil-disposed 
persons where a jury ought to have sat." He is very labored here, and has 
his attention diverted by his argument, I think, or he would have noticed 
that he has tacked on a fine solecism to his sentence. He affects to be 
imposingly Attic with his phrase 'packed panel;' but the correct in 
language use these words, as those familiar with the forensic vocabulary 
know, quite differently to our new Atticist. 

A little further on he adds this; "If he thinks that, because I would have 
nothing to do with a jury who were really my prosecutors he can argue 
away my apology, he must be blind to his own simplicity." When, then, 
and before whom did our caustic friend make his apology? He had 
demurred to the jury because they were 'foes,' and he did not utter one 
word about any trial, as he himself insists. See how this strenuous 
champion of the true, little by little, passes over to the side of the false, 
and, while honoring truth in phrase, combats it in deed. But it is amusing 
to see how weak he is even in seconding his own lie. How can one and the 
same man have 'cleared himself by an apology in the trial which was 
instituted against him,' and then have 'prudently kept silence because the 
court was in the hands of the foe?' Nay, the very language he uses in the 
preface to his Apology clearly shows that no court at all was opened 
against him. For he does not address his preface to any definite jury, but 
to certain unspecified persons who were living then, or who were 
afterwards to come into the world; and I grant that to such an audience 
there was need of a very vigorous apology, not indeed in the manner of the 



87 

one he has actually written, which requires another still to bolster it up, 
but a broadly intelligible ones, able to prove this special point, viz., that he 
was not in the possession of his usual reason when he wrote this, wherein 
he rings the assembly -bell for men who never came, perhaps never existed, 
and speaks an apology before an imaginary court, and begs an 
imperceptible jury not to let numbers decide between truth and falsehood, 
nor to assign the victory to mere quantity. Verily it is becoming that he 
should make an apology of that sort to jurymen who are yet in the loins of 
their fathers, and to explain to them how he came to think it right to adopt 
opinions which contradict universal belief, and to put more faith in his 
own mistaken fancies than in those who throughout the world glorify 
Christ' s name. 

Let him write, please, another apology in addition to this second; for this 
one is not a correction of mistakes made about him, but rather a proof of 
the truth of those charges. Every one knows that a proper apology aims at 
disproving a charge; thus a man who is accused of theft or murder or any 
other crime either denies the fact altogether, or transfers the blame to 
another party, or else, if neither of these is possible, he appeals to the 
charity or to the compassion of those who are to vote upon his sentence. 
But in his book he neither denies the charge, nor shifts it on some one else, 
nor has recourse to an appeal for mercy, nor promises amendment for the 
future; but he establishes the charge against him by an unusually labored 
demonstration. This charge, as he himself confesses, really amounted to an 
indictment for profanity, nor did it leave the nature of this undefined, but 
proclaimed the particular kind; whereas his apology proves this species of 
profanity to be a positive duty, and instead of removing the charge 
strengthens it. Now, if the tenets of our Faith had been left in any 
obscurity, it might have been less hazardous to attempt novelties; but the 
teaching of our master-theologian is now firmly fixed in the souls of the 
faithful; and so it is a question whether the man who shouts out 
contradictions of that about which all equally have made up their minds is 
defending himself against the charges made, or is not rather drawing down 
upon him the anger of his hearers, and making his accusers still more bitter. 
I incline to think the latter. So that if there are, as our writer tells us, both 
hearers of his apology and accusers of his attempts upon the Faith, let him 
tell us, how those accusers can possibly compromise the matter now, or 



88 

what sort of verdict that jury must return, now that his offense has been 
already proved by his own 'apology.' 

8. Facts show that the terms of abuse which he has employed against Basil are 

mare suitable for himself. 

But these remarks are by the way, and come from our not keeping close to 
our argument We had to inquire not how he ought to have made his 
apology, but whether he had ever made one at all. But now let us return to 
our former position, viz., that he is convicted by his own statements. This 
hater of falsehood first of all tells us that he was condemned because the 
jury which was assigned him defied the law, and that he was driven over 
sea and land and suffered much from the burning sun and the dust. Then in 
trying to conceal his falsehood he drives out one nail with another nail, as 
the proverb says, and puts one falsehood right by canceling it with 
another. As every one knows as well as he does that he never uttered one 
word in court, he declares that he begged to be let off coming into a hostile 
court and was condemned by default. Could there be a plainer case than 
this of a man contradicting both the truth and himself? When he is pressed 
about the title of his book, he makes his trial the constraining cause of this 
'apology;' but when he is pressed with the fact that he spoke not one 
word to the jury, he denies that there was any trial and says that he 
declined s such a jury. See how valiantly this doughty champion of the 
truth fights against falsehood! Then he dares to call our mighty Basil 'a 
malicious rascal and a liar;' and besides that, 'a bold ignorant parvenu,' 'no 
deep divine,' and he adds to his list of abusive terms, 'stark mad,' 
scattering an infinity of such words over his' pages, as if he imagined that 
his own bitter invectives could outweigh the common testimony of 
mankind, who revere that great name as though he were one of the saints 
of old. He thinks in fact that he, if no one else, can touch with calumny 
one whom calumny has never touched; but the sun is not so low in the 
heavens that any one can reach him with stones or any other missiles; they 
will but recoil upon him who shot them, while the intended target soars far 
beyond his reach. If any one, again, accuses the sun of want of light, he has 
not dimmed the brightness of the sunbeams with his scoffs; the sun will 
still remain the sun, and the fault-finder will only prove the feebleness of 
his own visual organs; and, if he should endeavor, after the fashion of this 
'apology,' to persuade all whom he meets and will listen to him not to give 



89 

in to the common opinions about the sun, nor to attach more weight to the 
experiences of all than to the surmises of one individual by 'assigning 
victory to mere quantity,' his nonsense will be wasted on those who can 
use their eyes. 

Let some one then persuade Eunomius to bridle his tongue, and not give 
the rein to such wild talk, nor kick against the pricks in the insolent abuse 
of an honored name; but to allow the mere remembrance of Basil to fill his 
soul with reverence and awe. What can he gain by this unmeasured 
ribaldry, when the object of it will retain all that character which his life, 
his words, and the general estimate of the civilized world proclaims him to 
have possessed? The man who takes in hand to revile reveals his own 
disposition as not being able, because it is evil, to speak good things, but 
only "to speak from the abundance of the heart," and to bring forth from 
that evil treasure-house. Now, that his expressions are merely those of 
abuse quite divorced from actual facts, can be proved from his own 
writings. 

9. In charging Basil with not defending his faith at the time of the Trials,' he lays 
himself open to the same charge. 

He hints at a certain locality where this trial for heresy took place; but he 
gives us no certain indication where it was, and the reader is obliged to 
guess in the dark. Thither, he tells us, a congress of picked representatives 
from all quarters was summoned; and he is at his best here, placing before 
our eyes with some vigorous strokes the preparation of the event which he 
pretends took place. Then, he says, a trial in which he would have had to 
run for his very life was put into the hands of certain arbitrators, to whom 
our Teacher and Master who was present gave his charge; and as all the 
voting power was thus won over to the enemies' side, he yielded the 
position, fled from the place, and hunted everywhere for some hearth and 
home; and he is great, in this graphic sketch, in arraigning the cowardice of 
our hero; as any one who likes may see by looking at what he has written. 
But I cannot stop to give specimens here of the bitter gall of his 
utterances; I must pass on to that, for the sake of which I mentioned all 
this. 

Where, then, was that unnamed spot in which this examination of his 
teachings was to take place? What was this occasion when the best then 



90 

were collected for a trial? Who were these men who hurried over land and 
sea to share in these labors? What was this expectant world that hung 
upon the issue of the voting?' Who was 'the arranger of the trial?' 
However, let us consider that he invented all that to swell out the 
importance of his story, as boys at school are apt to do in their fictitious 
conversations of this kind; and let him only tell us who that 'terrible 
combatant' was whom our Master shrunk from encountering. If this also 
is a fiction, let him be the winner again, and have the advantage of his vain 
words. We will say nothing: in the useless fight with shadows the real 
victory is to decline conquering in that. But if he speaks of the events at 
Constantinople and means the assembly there, and is in this fever of 
literary indignation at tragedies enacted there, and means himself by that 
great and redoubtable athlete, then we would display the reasons why, 
though present on the occasion, we did not plunge into the fight. 

Now let this man who upbraids that hero with his cowardice tell us 
whether he went down into the thick of the fray, whether he uttered one 
syllable in defense of his own orthodoxy, whether he made any vigorous 
peroration, whether he victoriously grappled with the foe? He cannot tell 
us that, or he manifestly contradicts himself, for he owns that by his 
default he received the adverse verdict. If it was a duty to speak at the 
actual time of the trial (for that is the law which he lays down for us in his 
book), then why was he then condemned by default? If on the other hand 
he did well in observing silence before such dicasts, how arbitrarily he 
praises himself, but blames us, for silence at such a time! What can be 
more absurdly unjust than this! When two treatises have been put forth 
since the time of the trial, he declares that his apology, though written so 
very long after, was in time, but reviles that which answered his own as 
quite too late! Surely he ought to have abused Basil's intended 
counter- statement before it was actually made; but this is not found 
amongst his other complaints. Knowing as he did what Basil was going to 
write when the time of the trial had passed away, why in the world did he 
not find fault with it there and then? In fact it is clear from his own 
confession that he never made that apology in the trial itself. I will repeat 
again his words: — 'We confess that we were condemned by default;' and 
he adds why; 'Evil-disposed persons had been passed as jurymen,' or 
rather, to use his own phrase, 'there was a packed panel of them where a 



91 

jury ought to have sat.' Whereas, on the other hand, it is clear from 
another passage in his book that he attests that his apology was made 'at 
the proper time.' It runs thus: — "That I was urged to make this apology 
at the proper time and in the proper manner from no pretended reasons, 
but compelled to do so on behalf of those who went security for me, is 
clear from facts and also from this man's words." He adroitly twists his 
words round to meet every possible objection; but what will he say to 
this? 'It was not right to keep silent during the trial.' Then why was 
Eunomius speechless during that same trial? And why is his apology, 
coming as it did after the trial, in good time? And if in good time, why is 
Basil's controversy with him not in good time? 

But the remark of that holy father is especially true, that Eunomius in 
pretending to make an apology really gave his teaching the support he 
wished to give it; and that genuine emulator of Phineas' zeal, destroying as 
he does with the sword of the Word every spiritual fornicator, dealt in the 
'Answer to his blasphemy' a sword-thrust that was calculated at once to 
heal a soul and to destroy a heresy. If he resists that stroke, and with a 
soul deadened by apostasy will not admit the cure, the blame rests with 
him who chooses the evil, as the Gentile proverb says. So far for 
Eunomius' treatment of truth, and of us: and now the law of former times, 
which allows an equal return on those who are the first to injure, might 
prompt us to discharge on him a counter- shower of abuse, and, as he is a 
very easy subject for this, to be very liberal of it, so as to outdo the pain 
which he has inflicted: for if he was so rich in insolent invective against 
one who gave no chance for calumny, how many of such epithets might 
we not expect to find for those who have satirized that saintly life? But 
we have been taught from the first by that scholar of the Truth to be 
scholars of the Gospel ourselves, and therefore we will not take an eye for 
an eye, nor a tooth for a tooth; we know well that all the evil that happens 
admits of being annihilated by its opposite, and that no bad word and no 
bad deed would ever develop into such desperate wickedness, if one good 
one could only be got in to break the continuity of the vicious stream. 
Therefore the routine of insolence and abusiveness is checked from 
repeating itself by long-suffering: whereas if insolence is met with 
insolence and abuse with abuse, you will but feed with itself this 
monster- vice, and increase it vastly. 



92 
10. All his insulting epithets are shewn by facts to be false. 

I therefore pass over everything else, as mere insolent mockery and 
scoffing abuse, and hasten to the question of his doctrine. Should any one 
say that I decline to be abusive only because I cannot pay him back in his 
own coin, let such an one consider in his own case what proneness there is 
to evil generally, what a mechanical sliding into sin, dispensing with the 
need of any practice. The power of becoming bad resides in the will; one 
act of wishing is often the sufficient occasion for a finished wickedness; 
and this ease of operation is more especially fatal in the sins of the tongue. 
Other classes of sins require time and occasion and co-operation to be 
committed; but the propensity to speak can sin when it likes. The treatise 
of Eunomius now in our hands is sufficient to prove this; one who 
attentively considers it will perceive the rapidity of the descent into sins 
in the matter of phrases: and it is the easiest thing in the world to imitate 
these, even though one is quite unpracticed in habitual defamation. What 
need would there be to labor in coining our intended insults into names, 
when one might employ upon this slanderer his own phrases? He has 
strung together, in fact, in this part of his work, every sort of falsehood 
and evil- speaking, all molded from the models which he finds in himself; 
every extravagance is to be found in writing these. He writes "cunning," 
"wrangling," "foe to truth," "high-flown," "charlatan," "combating general 
opinion and tradition," "braving facts which give him the lie," "careless of 
the terrors of the law, of the censure of men," "unable to distinguish the 
enthusiasm for truth from mere skill in reasoning;" he adds, "wanting in 
reverence," "quick to call names," and then "blatant," "full of conflicting 
suspicions," "combining irreconcilable arguments," "combating his own 
utterances," "affirming contradictories;" then, though eager to speak all ill 
of him, not being able to find other novelties of invective in which to 
indulge his bitterness, often in default of all else he reiterates the same 
phrases, and comes round again a third and a fourth time and even more to 
what he has once said; and in this circus of words he drives up and then 
turns down, over and over again, the same racecourse of insolent abuse; so 
that at last even anger at this shameless display dies away from very 
weariness. These low unlovely street boys' jeers do indeed provoke 
disgust rather than anger; they are not a whit better than the inarticulate 
grunting of some old woman who is quite drunk. 



93 

Must we then enter minutely into this, and laboriously, refute all his 
invectives by showing that Basil was not this monster of his imagination? 
If we did this, contentedly proving the absence of anything vile and 
criminal in him, we should seem to join in insulting one who was a 'bright 
particular star' to his generation. But I remember how with that divine 
voice of his he quoted the prophet with regard to him, comparing him to a 
shameless woman who casts her own reproaches on the chaste. For whom 
do these reasonings of his proclaim to be truth's enemy and in arms 
against public opinion? Who is it who begs the readers of his book not 'to 
look to the numbers of those who profess a belief, or to mere tradition, or 
to let their judgment be biased so as to consider as trustworthy what is 
only suspected to be the stronger side?' Can one and the same man write 
like this, and then make those charges, scheming that his readers should 
follow his own novelties at the very moment that he is abusing others for 
opposing themselves to the general belief? As for 'brazening out facts 
which give him the lie, and men's censure,' I leave the reader to judge to 
whom this applies; whether to one who by a most careful self-restraint 
made sobriety and quietness and perfect purity the rule of his own life as 
well as that of his entourage, or to one who advised that nature should not 
be molested when it is her pleasure to advance through the appetites of the 
body, not to thwart indulgence, nor to be so particular as that in the 
training of our life; but that a self-chosen faith should be considered 
sufficient for a man to attain perfection. If he denies that this is his 
teaching, I and any right-minded person would rejoice if he were telling the 
truth in such a denial. But his genuine followers will not allow him to 
produce such a denial, or their leading principles would be gone, and the 
platform of those who for this reason embrace his tenets would fall to 
pieces. As for shameless indifference to human censure, you may look at 
his youth or his after life, and you would find him in both open to this 
reproach. The two men's lives, whether in youth or manhood, tell a 
widely-different tale. 

Let our speech-writer, while he reminds himself of his youthful doings in 
his native land, and afterwards at Constantinople, hear from those who can 
tell him what they know of the man whom he slanders. But if any would 
inquire into their subsequent occupations, let such a person tell us which 
of the two he considers to deserve so high a reputation; the man who 



94 

ungrudgingly spent upon the poor his patrimony even before he was a 
priest, and most of all in the time of the famine, during which he was a 
ruler of the Church, though still a priest in the rank of presbyters; and 
afterwards did not hoard even what remained to him, so that he too might 
have made the Apostles' boast, 'Neither did we eat any man's bread for 
nought:' or, on the other hand, the man who has made the championship 
of a tenet a source of income, the man who creeps into houses, and does 
not conceal his loathsome affliction by staying at home, nor considers the 
natural aversion which those in good health must feel for such, though 
according to the law of old he is one of those who are banished from the 
inhabited camp because of the contagion of his unmistakable disease. 

Basil is called 'hasty' and 'insolent,' and in both characters 'a liar' by this 
man who 'would in patience and meekness educate those of a contrary 
opinion to himself;' for such are the airs he gives himself when he speaks 
of him, while he omits no hyperbole of bitter language, when he has a 
sufficient opening to produce it. On what grounds, then, does he charge 
him with this hastiness and insolence? Because 'he called me a Galatian, 
though I am a Cappadocian;' then it was because he called a man who lived 
on the boundary in an obscure corner like Corniaspine a Galatian instead 
of an Oltiserian; supposing, that is, that it is proved that he said this. I 
have not found it in my copies; but grant it. For this he is to be called 
'hasty,' 'insolent,' all that is bad. But the wise know well that the minute 
charges of a faultfinder furnish a strong argument for the righteousness of 
the accused; else, when eager to accuse, he would not have spared great 
faults and employed his malice on little ones. On these last he is certainly 
great, heightening the enormity of the offense, and making solemn 
reflections on falsehood, and seeing equal heinousness in it whether in 
great or very trivial matters. Like the fathers of his heresy, the scribes and 
Pharisees, he knows how to strain a gnat carefully and to swallow at one 
gulp the hump-backed camel laden with a weight of wickedness. But it 
would not be out of place to say to him, 'refrain from making such a rule 
in our system; cease to bid us think it of no account to measure the guilt of 
a falsehood by the slightness or the importance of the circumstances.' Paul 
telling a falsehood and purifying himself after the manner of the Jews to 
meet the needs of those whom he usefully deceived did not sin the same as 
Judas for the requirement of his treachery putting on a kind and affable 



95 

look. By a falsehood Joseph in love to his brethren deceived them; and 
that too while swearing 'by the life of Pharaoh;' but his brethren had really 
lied to him, in their envy plotting his death and then his enslavement. 
There are many such cases: Sarah lied, because she was ashamed of 
laughing: the serpent lied, tempting man to disobey and change to a divine 
existence. Falsehoods differ widely according to their motives. 
Accordingly we accept that general statement about man which the Holy 
Spirit uttered by the Prophet, 'Every man is a liar;' and this man of God, 
too, has not kept clear of falsehood, having chanced to give a place the 
name of a neighboring district, through oversight or ignorance of its real 
name. But Eunomius also has told a falsehood, and what is it? Nothing less 
than a misstatement of Truth itself. He asserts that One who always is 
once was not; he demonstrates that One who is truly a Son is falsely so 
called; he defines the Creator to be a creature and a work; the Lord of the 
world he calls a servant, and ranges the Being who essentially rules with 
subject beings. Is the difference between falsehoods so very trifling, that 
one can think it matters nothing whether the falsehood is palpable in this 
way or in that? 

11. The sophistry which he employs to prove our acknowledgment that he had 
been tried, and that the confession of his faith had not been unimpeached, is 

feeble. 

He objects to sophistries in others; see the sort of care he takes himself 
that his proofs shall be real ones. Our Master said, in the book which he 
addressed to him, that at the time when our cause was ruined, Eunomius 
won Cyzicus as the prize of his blasphemy. What then does this detector 
of sophistry do? He fastens at once on that word prize, and declares that 
we on our side confess that he made an apology, that he won thereby, that 
he gained the prize of victory by these efforts; and he frames his argument 
into a syllogism consisting as he thinks of unanswerable propositions. But 
we will quote word for word what he has written. 'If a prize is the 
recognition and the crown of victory, and a trial implies a victory, and, as 
also inseparable from itself, an accusation, then that man who grants (in 
argument) the prize must necessarily allow that there was a defense.' 
What then is our answer to that? We do not deny that he fought this 
wretched battle of impiety with a most vigorous energy, and that he went 
a very long distance beyond his fellows in these perspiring efforts against 



96 

the truth; but we will not allow that he obtained the victory over his 
opponents; but only that as compared with those who were running the 
same as himself through heresy into error he was foremost in the number 
of his lies and so gained the prize of Cyzicus in return for high attainments 
in evil, beating all who for the same prize combated the Truth; and that for 
this victory of blasphemy his name was blazoned loud and clear when 
Cyzicus was selected for him by the umpires of his party as the reward of 
his extravagance, This is the statement of our opinion, and this we 
allowed; our contention now that Cyzicus was the prize of a heresy, not 
the successful result of a defense, shews it. Is this anything like his own 
mess of childish sophistries, so that he can thereby hope to have grounds 
for proving the fact of his trial and his defense? His method is like that of a 
man in a drinking bout, who has made away with more strong liquor than 
the rest, and having then claimed the pool from his fellow-drunkards 
should attempt to make this victory a proof of having won some case in 
the law courts. That man might chop the same sort of logic. 'If a prize is 
the recognition and the crown of victory, and a law-trial implies a victory 
and, as also inseparable from itself, an accusation, then I have won my 
suit, since I have been crowned for my powers of drinking in this bout.' 

One would certainly answer to such a booster that a trial in court is a very 
different thing from a wine-contest, and that one who wins with the glass 
has thereby no advantage over his legal adversaries, though he get a 
beautiful chaplet of flowers. No more, therefore, has the man who has 
beaten his equals in the advocacy of profanity anything to show in having 
won the prize for that, that he has won a verdict too. The testimony on 
our side that he is first in profanity is no plea for his imaginary 'apology.' 
If he did speak it before the court, and, having so prevailed over his 
adversaries, was honored with Cyzicus for that, then he might have some 
occasion for using our own words against ourselves; but as he is 
continually protesting in his book that he yielded to the animus of the 
voters, and accepted in silence the penalty which they inflicted, not even 
waiting for this hostile decision, why does he impose upon himself and 
make this word prize into the proof of a successful apology? Our excellent 
friend fails to understand the force of this word prize; Cyzicus was given 
up to him as the reward of merit for his extravagant impiety; and as it was 
his will to receive such a prize, and be views it in the light of a victor's 



97 

guerdon, let him receive as well what that victory implies, viz. the lion's 
share in the guilt of profanity. If he insists on our own words against 
ourselves, he must accept both these consequences, or neither. 

12. His charge of cowardice is baseless: for Basil displayed the highest courage 
before the Emperor and his Lord-Lieutenants. 

He treats our words so; and in the rest of his presumptuous statements 
can there be, shown to be a particle of truth? In these he calls him 
'cowardly,' 'spiritless,' 'a shirker of severer labors,' exhausting the list of 
such terms, and giving with labored circumstantially every symptom of 
this cowardice: 'the retired cabin, the door firmly closed, the anxious fear 
of intruders, the voice, the look, the tell-tale change of countenance,' 
everything of that sort, whereby the passion of fear is shown. If he were 
detected in no other lie but this, it alone would be sufficient to reveal his 
bent. For who does not know how, during the time when the Emperor 
Valens was roused against the churches of the Lord, that mighty champion 
of ours rose by his lofty spirit superior to those overwhelming 
circumstances and the terrors of the foe, and showed a mind which soared 
above every means devised to daunt him? Who of the dwellers in the East, 
and of the furthest regions of our civilized world did not hear of his 
combat with the throne itself for the truth? Who, looking to his antagonist, 
was not in dismay? For his was no common antagonist, possessed only of 
the power of winning in sophistic juggles, where victory is no glory and 
defeat is harmless; but he had the power of bending the whole Roman 
government to his will; and, added to this pride of empire, he had 
prejudices against our faith, cunningly instilled into his mind by Eudoxius 
of Germanicia, who had won him to his side; and he found in all those who 
were then at the head of affairs allies in carrying out his designs, some 
being already inclined to them from mental sympathies, while others, and 
they were the majority, were ready from fear to indulge the imperial 
pleasure, and seeing the severity employed against those who held to the 
Faith were ostentatious in their zeal for him. It was a time of exile, 
confiscation, banishment, threats of fines, danger of life, arrests, 
imprisonment, scourging; nothing was too dreadful to put in force against 
those who would not yield to this sudden caprice of the Emperor; it was 
worse for the faithful to be caught in God's house than if they had been 
detected in the most heinous of crimes. 



98 

But a detailed history of that time would be too long; and would require a 
separate treatment; besides, as the sufferings at that sad season are known 
to all, nothing would be gained for our present purpose by carefully 
setting them forth in writing. A second drawback to such an attempt 
would be found to be that amidst the details of that melancholy history we 
should be forced to make mention of ourselves; and if we did anything in 
those struggles for our religion that redounds to our honor in the telling, 
Wisdom commands us to leave it to others to tell. "Let another man praise 
thee, and not thine own mouth;" and it is this very thing that our 
omniscient friend has not been conscious of in devoting the larger half of 
his book to self-glorification. 

Omitting, then, all that kind of detail, I will be careful only in setting forth 
the achievement of our Master. The adversary whom he had to combat 
was no less a person than the Emperor himself; that adversary's second 
was the man who stood next him in the government; his assistants to work 
out his will were the court. Let us take into consideration also the point of 
time, in order to test and to illustrate the fortitude of our own noble 
champion. When was it? The Emperor was proceeding from 
Constantinople to the East elated by his recent successes against the 
barbarians, and not in a spirit to brook any obstruction to his will; and his 
Lord-lieutenant directed his route, postponing all administration of the 
necessary affairs of state as long as a home remained to one adherent of the 
Faith and until every one, no matter where, was ejected, and others, 
chosen by himself to outrage our godly hierarchy, were introduced instead. 
The Powers then of the Propontis were moving in such a fury, like some 
dark cloud, upon the churches; Bithynia was completely devastated; 
Galatia was very quickly carried away by their stream; all in the 
intervening districts had succeeded with them; and now our fold lay the 
next to be attacked. What did our mighty Basil show like then, 'that 
spiritless coward,' as Eunomius calls him, 'shrinking from danger, and 
trusting to a retired cabin to save him?' Did he quail at this evil onset? Did 
he allow the sufferings of previous victims to suggest to him that he 
should secure his own safety? Did he listen to any who advised a slight 
yielding to this rush of evils, so as not to throw himself openly in the path 
of men who were now veterans in slaughter? Rather we find that all excess 
of language, all height of thought and word, falls short of the truth about 



99 

him. None could describe his contempt of danger, so as to bring before the 
reader's eyes this new combat, which one might justly say was waged not 
between man and man, but between a Christian's firmness and courage on 
the one side, and a bloodstained power on the other. 

The Lord-lieutenant kept appealing to the commands of the Emperor, and 
rendering a power, which from its enormous strength was terrible enough, 
more terrible still by the unsparing cruelty of its vengeance. After the 
tragedies which he had enacted in Bithynia. and after Galatia with 
characteristic fickleness had yielded without a struggle, he thought that our 
country would fall a ready prey to his designs. Cruel deeds were preluded 
by words proposing, with mingled threats and promises, royal favors and 
ecclesiastical power to obedience, but to resistance all that a cruel spirit 
which has got the power to work its will can devise. Such was the enemy. 

So far was our champion from being daunted by what he saw and heard, 
that he acted rather like a physician or prudent councilor called m to 
correct something that was wrong, bidding them repent of their rashness 
and cease to commit murders amongst the servants of the Lord; 'their 
plans,' he said, 'could not succeed with men who cared only for the 
empire of Christ, and for the Powers that never die; with all their wish to 
maltreat him, they could discover nothing, whether word or act, that could 
pain the Christian; confiscation could not touch him whose only 
possession was his Faith; exile had no terrors for one who walked in every 
land with the same feelings, and looked on every city as strange because of 
the shortness of his sojourn in it, yet as home, because all human creatures 
are in equal bondage with himself; the endurance of blows, or tortures, or 
death, if it might be for the Truth, was an object of fear not even to 
women, but to every Christian it was the supremest bliss to suffer the 
worst for this their hope, and they were only grieved that nature allowed 
them but one death, and that they could devise no means of dying many 
times in this battle for the Truth.' 

When he thus confronted their threats, and looked beyond that imposing 
power, as if it were all nothing, then their exasperation, just like those 
rapid changes on the stage when one mask after another is put on, turned 
with all its threats into flattery; and the very man whose spirit up to then 
had been so determined and formidable adopted the most gentle and 



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submissive of language; 'Do not, I beg you, think it a small thing for our 
mighty emperor to have communion with your people, but be willing to be 
called his master too: nor thwart his wish; he wishes for this peace, if only 
one little word in the written Creed is erased, that of Homoousios.' Our 
master answers that it is of the greatest importance that the emperor 
should be a member of the Church; that is, that he should save his soul, 
not as an emperor, but as a mere man; but a diminution of or addition to 
the Faith was so far from his (Basil's) thoughts, that he would not change 
even the order of the written words. That was what this 'spiritless 
coward, who trembles at the creaking of a door,' said to this great ruler, 
and he confirmed his words by what he did; for he stemmed in his own 
person this imperial torrent of ruin that was rushing on the churches, and 
turned it aside; he in himself was a match for this attack, like a grand 
immovable rock in the sea, breaking the huge and surging billow of that 
terrible onset. 

Nor did his wrestling stop there; the emperor himself succeeds to the 
attack, exasperated because he did not get effected in the first attempt all 
that he wished. Just, accordingly, as the Assyrian effected the destruction 
of the temple of the Israelites at Jerusalem by means of the cook 
Nabuzardan, so did this monarch of ours entrust his business to one 
Demosthenes, comptroller of his kitchen, and chief of his cooks, as to one 
more pushing than the rest, thinking thereby to succeed entirely in his 
design. With this man stirring the pot, and with one of the blasphemers 
from Illyricum, letters in hand, assembling the authorities with this end in 
view, and with Modestus kindling passion to a greater heat than in the 
previous excitement, every one joined the movement of the Emperor's 
anger, making his fury their own, and yielding to the temper of authority; 
and on the other hand all felt their hopes sink at the prospect of what 
might happen. That same Lord-lieutenant re-enters on the scene; 
intimidations worse than the former are begun; their threats are thrown 
out; their anger rises to a still higher pitch; there is the tragic pomp of trial 
over again, the criers, the apparitors, the lictors, the curtained bar, things 
which naturally daunt even a mind which is thoroughly prepared; and 
again we see God's champion amidst this combat surpassing even his 
former glory. If you want proofs, look at the facts. What spot, where 
there are churches, did not that disaster reach? What nation remained 



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unreached by these heretical commands? Who of the illustrious in any 
Church was not driven from the scene of his labors? What people escaped 
their despiteful treatment? It reached all Syria, and Mesopotamia up to the 
frontier, Phoenicia, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, the Libyan tribes to the 
boundaries of the civilized world; and all nearer home, Pontus, Cilicia, 
Lycia, Lydia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Caria, the Hellespont, the islands up to 
the Propontis itself: the coasts of Thrace, as far as Thrace extends, and the 
bordering nations as far as the Danube. Which of these countries retained 
its former look, unless any were already possessed with the evil? The 
people of Cappadocia alone felt not these afflictions of the Church, 
because our mighty champion saved them in their trial. 

Such was the achievement of this 'coward' master of ours; such was the 
success of one who 'shirks all sterner toil.' Surely it is not that of one who 
'wins renown amongst poor old women, and practices to deceive the sex 
which naturally fails into every snare,' and 'thinks it a great thing to be 
admired by the criminal and abandoned;' it is that of one who has proved 
by deeds his soul' s fortitude, and the unflinching and noble manliness of 
his spirit. His success has resulted in the salvation of the whole country, 
the peace of our Church, the pattern given to the virtuous of every 
excellence, the overthrow of the foe, the upholding of the Faith, the 
confirmation of the weaker brethren, the encouragement of the zealous, 
everything that is believed to belong to the victorious side; and in the 
commemoration of no other events but these do hearing and seeing unite in 
accomplished facts; for here it is one and the same thing to relate in words 
his noble deeds and to show in facts the attestation of our words, and to 
confirm each by the other — the record from what is before our eyes, and 
the facts from what is being said. 

13. Resume of his dogmatic teaching. Objections to it in detail. 

But somehow our discourse has swerved considerably from the mark; it 
has had to turn round and face each of this slanderer's insults. To 
Eunomius indeed it is no small advantage that the discussion should linger 
upon such points, and that the indictment of his offenses against man 
should delay our approach to his graver sins. But it is profitless to abuse 
for hastiness of speech one who is on his trial for murder; (because the 
proof of the latter is sufficient to get the verdict of death passed, even 



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though hastiness of speech is not proved along with it): just so it seems 
best to subject to proof his blasphemy only, and to leave his insults alone. 
When his heinousness on the most important points has been detected, his 
other delinquencies are proved potentially without going minutely into 
them. Well then; at the head of all his argumentations stands this 
blasphemy against the definitions of the Faith — both in his former work 
and in that which we are now criticizing — and his strenuous effort to 
destroy and cancel and completely upset all devout conceptions as to the 
Only-Begotten Son of God and the Holy Spirit. To show, then, how false 
and inconsistent are his arguments against these doctrines of the truth, I 
will first quote word for word his whole statement, and then I will begin 
again and examine each portion separately. "The whole account of our 
doctrines is summed up thus; there is the Supreme and Absolute Being, 
and another Being existing by reason of the First, but after It though before 
all others; and a third Being not ranking with either of these, but inferior to 
the one, as to its cause, to the other, as to the energy which produced it: 
there must of course be included in this account the energies that follow 
each Being, and the names germane to these energies. Again, as each Being 
is absolutely single, and is in fact and thought one, and its energies are 
bounded by its works, and its works commensurate with its energies, 
necessarily, of course, the energies which follow these Beings are relatively 
greater and less, some being of a higher, some of a lower order; in a word, 
their difference amounts to that existing between their works: it would in 
fact not be lawful to say that the same energy produced the angels or stars, 
and the heavens or man: but a pious mind would conclude that in 
proportion as some works are superior to and more honorable than others, 
so does one energy transcend another, because sameness of energy 
produces sameness of work, and difference of work indicates difference of 
energy. These things being so, and maintaining an unbroken connection in 
their relation to each other, it seems fitting for those who make their 
investigation according to the order germane to the subject, and who do not 
insist on mixing and confusing all together, in case of a discussion being 
raised about Being, to prove what is in course of demonstration, and to 
settle the points in debate, by the primary energies and those attached to 
the Beings, and again to explain by the Beings when the energies are in 
question, yet still to consider the passage from the first to the second the 
more suitable and in all respects the more efficacious of the two." 



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Such is his blasphemy systematized! May the Very God, Son of the Very 
God, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, direct our discussion to the truth! 
We will repeat his statements one by one. He asserts that the "whole 
account of his doctrines is summed up in the Supreme and Absolute Being, 
and in another Being existing by reason of the First, but after It though 
before all others, and in a third Being not ranking with either of these but 
inferior to the one as to its cause, to the other as to the energy" The first 
point, then, of the unfair dealings in this statement to be noticed is that in 
professing to expound the mystery of the Faith, he corrects as it were the 
expressions in the Gospel, and will not make use of the words by which 
our Lord in perfecting our faith conveyed that mystery to us: he 
suppresses the names of 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost,' and speaks of a 
'Supreme and Absolute Being' instead of the Father, of 'another existing 
through it, but after it' instead of the Son, and of 'a third ranking with 
neither of these two' instead of the Holy Ghost. And yet if those had been 
the more appropriate names, the Truth Himself would not have been at a 
loss to discover them, nor those men either, on whom successively 
devolved the preaching of the mystery, whether they were from the first 
eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, or, as successors to these, filled 
the whole world with the Evangelical doctrines, and again at various 
periods after this defined in a common assembly the ambiguities raised 
about the doctrine; whose traditions are constantly preserved in writing in 
the churches. If those had been the appropriate terms, they would not 
have mentioned, as they did, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, granting indeed 
it were pious or safe to remodel at all, with a view to this innovation, the 
terms of the faith; or else they were all ignorant men and uninstructed in 
the mysteries, and unacquainted with what he calls the appropriate names 
— those men who had really neither the knowledge nor the desire to give 
the preference to their own conceptions over what had been handed down 
to us by the voice of God. 

14. He did wrong, when mentioning life Doctrines of Salvation, in adopting terms 
of his own choosing instead of the traditional terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

The reason for this invention of new words I take to be manifest to every 
one — namely: that every one, when the words father and son are spoken, 
at once recognizes the proper and natural relationship to one another 
which they imply. This relationship is conveyed at once by the 



104 

appellations themselves. To prevent it being understood of the Father, and 
the Only-begotten Son, he robs us of this idea of relationship which enters 
the ear along with the words, and abandoning the inspired terms, expounds 
the Faith by means of others devised to injure the truth. 

One thing, however, that he says is true: that his own teaching, not the 
Catholic teaching, is summed up so. Indeed any one who reflects can 
easily see the impiety of his statement. It will not be out of place now to 
discuss in detail what his intention is in ascribing to the being of the Father 
alone the highest degree of that which is supreme and proper, while not 
admitting that the being of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is supreme and 
proper. For my part I think that it is a prelude to his complete denial of 
the 'being' of the Only-begotten and of the Holy Ghost, and that this 
system of his is secretly intended to effect the setting aside of all real 
belief in their personality, while in appearance and in mere words 
confessing it. A moment' s reflection upon his statement will enable any 
one to perceive that this is so. It does not look like one who thinks that 
the Only-begotten and the Holy Ghost really exist in a distinct personality 
to be very particular about the names with which he thinks the greatness 
of Almighty God should be expressed. To grant the fact, and then go into 
minute distinctions about the appropriate phrases would be indeed 
consummate folly: and so in ascribing a being that is in the highest degree 
supreme and proper only to the Father, he makes us surmise by this 
silence respecting the other two that (to him) they do not properly exist. 
How can that to which a proper being is denied be said to really exist? 
When we deny proper being to it, we must perforce affirm of it all the 
opposite terms. That which cannot be properly said is improperly said, so 
that the demonstration of its not being properly said is a proof of its not 
really subsisting: and it is at this that Eunomius seems to aim in 
introducing these new names into his teaching. For no one can say that he 
has strayed from ignorance into some silly fancy of separating, locally, the 
supreme from that which is below, and assigning to the Father as it were 
the peak of some hill, while he seats the Son lower down in the hollows. 
No one is so childish as to conceive of differences in space, when the 
intellectual and spiritual is under discussion. Local position is a property 
of the material: but the intellectual and immaterial is confessedly removed 
from the idea of locality. What, then, is the reason why he says that the 



105 

Father alone has supreme being? For one can hardly think it is from 
ignorance that he wanders off into these conceptions, being one who, in 
the many displays he makes, claims to be wise, even "making himself 
overwise," as the Holy Scripture forbids us to do. 

15. He does wrong in making the being of the Father alone proper and supreme, 

implying by his omission of the Son and tire Spirit that theirs is improperly 

spoken of, and is inferior. 

But at all events he will allow that this supremacy of being betokens no 
excess of power, or of goodness, or of anything of that kind. Every one 
knows that, not to mention those whose knowledge is supposed to be 
very profound; viz., that the personality of the Only-begotten and of the 
Holy Ghost has nothing lacking in the way of perfect goodness, perfect 
power, and of every quality like that. Good, as long as it is incapable of its 
opposite, has no bounds to its goodness: its opposite alone can 
circumscribe it, as we may see by particular examples. Strength is stopped 
only when weakness seizes it; life is limited by death alone; darkness is 
the ending of light: in a word, every good is checked by its opposite, and 
by that alone. If then he supposes that the nature of the Only-begotten 
and of the Spirit can change for the worse, then he plainly diminishes the 
conception of their goodness, making them capable of being associated 
with their opposites. But if the Divine and unalterable nature is incapable 
of degeneracy, as even our foes allow, we must regard it as absolutely 
unlimited in its goodness: and the unlimited is the same as the infinite. But 
to suppose excess and defect in the infinite and unlimited is to the last 
degree unreasonable: for how can the idea of infinitude remain, if we 
posited increase and loss in it? We get the idea of excess only by a 
comparison of limits: where there is no limit, we cannot think of any 
excess. Perhaps, however, this was not what he was driving at, but he 
assigns this superiority only by the prerogative of priority m time, and, 
with this idea only, declares the Father' s being to be alone the supreme 
one. Then he must tell us on what grounds he has measured out more 
length of life to the Father, while no distinctions of time whatever have 
been previously conceived of in the personality of the Son. 

And yet supposing for a moment, for the sake of argument, that this was 
so, what superiority does the being which is prior in time have over that 
which follows, on the score of pure being, that he can say that the one is 



106 

supreme and proper, and the other is not? For while the lifetime of the 
eider as compared with the younger is longer, yet his being has neither 
increase nor decrease on that account. This will be clear by an illustration. 
What disadvantage, on the score of being, as compared with Abraham, had 
David who lived fourteen generations after? Was any change, so far as 
humanity goes, effected in the latter? Was he less a human being, because 
he was later in time? Who would be so foolish as to assert this? The 
definition of their being is the same for both: the lapse of time does not 
change it. No one would assert that the one was more a man for being first 
in time, and the other less because he sojourned in life later; as if humanity 
had been exhausted on the first, or as if time had spent its chief power 
upon the deceased. For it is not in the power of time to define for each one 
the measures of nature, but nature abides self-contained, preserving herself 
through succeeding generations: and time has a course of its own, whether 
surrounding, or flowing by, this nature, which remains firm and motionless 
within her own limits. Therefore, not even supposing, as our argument did 
for a moment, that an advantage were allowed on the score of time, can 
they properly ascribe to the Father alone the highest supremacy of being: 
but as there is really no difference whatever in the prerogative of time, 
how could any one possibly entertain such an idea about these existencies 
which are pre-temporal? Every measure of distance that we could discover 
is beneath the divine nature: so no ground is left for those who attempt to 
divide this pre-temporal and incomprehensible being by distinctions of 
superior and inferior. 

We have no hesitation either in asserting that what is dogmatically taught 
by them is an advocacy of the Jewish doctrine, setting forth, as they do, 
that the being of the Father alone has subsistence, and insisting that this 
only has proper existence, and reckoning that of the Son and the Spirit 
among non-existencies, seeing that what does not properly exist can be 
said nominally only, and by an abuse of terms, to exist at all. The name of 
man, for instance, is not given to a portrait representing one, but to so and 
so who is absolutely such, the original of the picture, and not the picture 
itself; whereas the picture is in word only a man, and does not possess 
absolutely the quality ascribed to it, because it is not in its nature that 
which it is called. In the case before us, too, if being is properly ascribed to 
the Father, but ceases when we come to the Son and the Spirit, it is 



107 

nothing short of a plain denial of the message of salvation. Let them leave 
the church and fall back upon the synagogues of the Jews, proving, as they 
do, the Son's non-existence in denying to Him proper being. What does 
not properly exist is the same thing as the non-existent. 

Again, he means in all this to be very clever, and has a poor opinion of 
those who essay to write without logical force. Then let him tell us, 
contemptible though we are, by what sort of skill he has detected a greater 
and a less in pure being. What is his method for establishing that one being 
is more of a being than another being, — taking being in its plainest 
meaning, for he must not bring forward those various qualities and 
properties, which are comprehended in the conception of the being, and 
gather round it, but are not the subject itself? Shade, color, weight, force or 
reputation, distinctive manner, disposition, any quality thought of in 
connection with body or mind, are not to be considered here: we have to 
inquire only whether the actual subject of all these, which is termed 
absolutely the being, differs in degree of being from another. We have yet 
to learn that of two known existencies, which still exist, the one is more, 
the other less, an existence. Both are equally such, as long as they are in 
the category of existence, and when all notions of more or less value, more 
or less force, have been excluded. 

If, then, he denies that we can regard the Only-begotten as completely 
existing, — for to this depth his statement seems to lead, — in 
withholding from Him a proper existence, let him deny it even in a less 
degree. If, however, he does grant that the Son subsists in some substantial 
way — we will not quarrel now about the particular way — why does he 
take away again that which he has conceded Him to be, and prove Him to 
exist not properly, which is tantamount, as we have said, to not at all? For 
as humanity is not possible to that which does not possess the complete 
connotation of the term 'man,' and the whole conception of it is canceled 
in the case of one who lacks any of the properties, so in every thing whose 
complete and proper existence is denied, the partial affirmation of its 
existence is no proof of its subsisting at all; the demonstration, in fact, of 
its incomplete being is a demonstration of its effacement in all points. So 
that if he is well-advised, he will come over to the orthodox belief, and 
remove from his teaching the idea of less and of incompleteness in the 
nature of the Son and the Spirit: but if he is determined to blaspheme, and 



108 

wishes for some inscrutable reason thus to requite his Maker and God and 
Benefactor, let him at all events part with his conceit of possessing some 
amount of showy learning, unphilosophically piling, as he does, being over 
being, one above the other one proper, one not such, for no discoverable 
reason. We have never heard that any of the infidel philosophers have 
committed this folly, any more than we have met with it in the inspired 
writings, or in the common apprehension of mankind. 

I think that from what has been said it will be clear what is the aim of 
these newly-devised names. He drops them as the base of operations or 
foundation-stone of all this work of mischief to the Faith: once he can get 
the idea into currency that the one Being alone is supreme and proper in 
the highest degree, he can then assail the other two, as belonging to the 
inferior and not regarded as properly Being. He shows this especially in 
what follows, where he is discussing the belief in the Son and the Holy 
Spirit, and does not proceed with these names, so as to avoid bringing 
before us the proper characteristic of their nature by means of those 
appellations: they are passed over unnoticed by this man who is always 
telling us that minds of the hearers are to be directed by the use of 
appropriate names and phrases. Yet what name could be more appropriate 
than that which has been given by the Very Truth? He sets his views 
against the Gospel, and names not the Son, but 'a Being existing through 
the First, but after It though before all others.' That this is said to destroy 
the right faith in the Only-begotten will be made plainer still by his 
subsequent arguments. Still there is only a moderate amount of mischief in 
these words: one intending no impiety at all towards Christ might 
sometimes use them: we will therefore omit at present all discussion about 
our Lord, and reserve our reply to the more open blasphemies against 
Him. But on the subject of the Holy Spirit the blasphemy is plain and 
unconcealed: he says that He is not to be ranked with the Father or the 
Son, but is subject to both. I will therefore examine as closely as possible 
this statement. 

16. Examination of the meaning of 'subjection:' in that he says that the nature of 

the Holy Spirit is subject to that of the Father and the Son. It is shewn that the 

Holy Spirit is of an equal, not inferior, rank to the Father and the Son. 

Let us first, then, ascertain the meaning of this word 'subjection' in 
Scripture. To whom is it applied? The Creator, honoring man in his having 



109 

been made in His own image, 'hath placed' the brute creation 'in 
subjection under his feet;' as great David relating this favor (of God) 
exclaimed in the Psalms: "He put all things," he says, "under his feet," and 
he mentions by name the creatures so subjected. There is still another 
meaning of 'subjection' in Scripture. Ascribing to God Himself the cause 
of his success in war, the Psalmist says, "He hath put peoples and nations 
in subjection under our feet," and "He that putteth peoples in subjection 
under me." This word is often found tires in Scripture, indicating a victory. 
As for the future subjection of all men to the Only-begotten, and through 
Him to the Father, in the passage where the Apostle with a profound 
wisdom speaks of the Mediator between God and man as subject to the 
Father, implying by that subjection of the Son who shares humanity the 
actual subjugation of mankind — we will not discuss it now, for it requires 
a full and thorough examination. But to take only the plain and 
unambiguous meaning of the word subjection, bow can he declare the being 
of the Spirit to be subject to that of the Son and the Father? As the Son is 
subject to the Father, according to the thought of the Apostle? But in this 
view the Spirit is to be ranked with the Son, not below Him, seeing that 
both Persons are of this lower rank. This was not his meaning? How then? 
In the way the brute creation is subject to the rational, as in the Psalm? 
There is then as great a difference as is implied in the subjection of the 
brute creation, when compared to man. Perhaps he will reject this 
explanation as well. Then he will have to come to the only remaining one, 
that the Spirit, at first in the rebellious ranks, was afterwards forced by a 
superior Force to bend to a Conqueror. 

Let him choose which he likes of these alternatives: whichever it is I do 
not see how he can avoid the inevitable crime of blasphemy: whether he 
says the Spirit is subject in the manner of the brute creation, as fish and 
birds and sheep, to man, or were to fetch Him a captive to a superior 
power after the manner of a rebel. Or does he mean neither of these ways, 
but uses the word in a different signification altogether to the scripture 
meaning? What, then, is that signification? Does he lay down that we must 
rank Him as inferior and not as equal, because He was given by our Lord 
to His disciples third in order? By the same reasoning he should make the 
Father inferior to the Son, since the Scripture often places the name of our 
Lord first, and the Father Almighty second. "I and My Father," our Lord 



110 

says. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God," and other 
passages innumerable which the diligent student of Scripture testimonies 
might collect: for instance, "there are differences of gifts, but it is the same 
Spirit: and there are differences of administration, but it is the same Lord: 
and there are differences of operations, but it is the same God." According 
to this, then, let the Almighty Father, who is mentioned third, be made 
'subject' to the Son and the Spirit. However we have never yet heard of a 
philosophy such as this, which relegates to the category of the inferior and 
the dependent that which is mentioned second or third only for some 
particular reason of sequence: yet that is what our author wants to do, in 
arguing to show that the order observed in the transmission of the Persons 
amounts to differences of more and less in dignity and nature. In fact he 
rules that sequence in point of order is indicative of unlikeness of nature: 
whence be got this fancy, what necessity compelled him to it, is not clear. 
Mere numerical rank does not create a different nature: that which we 
would count in a number remains the same in nature whether we count it 
or not. Number is a mark only of the mere quantity of things: it does not 
place second those things only which have an inferior natural value, but it 
makes the sequence of the numerical objects indicated in accordance with 
the intention of those who are counting. 'Paul and Silvanus and 
Timotheus' are three persons mentioned according to a particular 
intention. Does the place of Silvanus, second and after Paul, indicate that 
he was other than a man? Or is Timothy, because he is third, considered 
by the writer who so ranks him a different kind of being? Not so. Each is 
human both before and after this arrangement. Speech, which cannot utter 
the names of all three at once, mentions each separately according to an 
order which commends itself, but unites them by the copula, in order that 
the juncture of the names may show the harmonious action of the three 
towards one end. 

This, however, does not please our new dogmatist. He opposes the 
arrangement of Scripture. He separates off that equality with the Father 
and the Son of His proper and natural rank and connection which our Lord 
Himself pronounces, and numbers Him with 'subjects': he declares Him to 
be a work of both Persons, of the Father, as supplying the cause of His 
constitution, of the Only -begotten, as of the artificer of His subsistence: 



Ill 

and defines this as the ground of His 'subjection,' without as yet unfolding 
the meaning of 'subjection.' 

17. Discussion as to the exact nature of the 'energies' which, this man declares, 
'follow' the being of the Father and of the Son. 

Then he says "there must of course be included in this account the 
energies that accompany each Being, and the names appropriate to these 
energies." Shrouded in such a mist of vagueness, the meaning of this is far 
from clear: but one might conjecture it is as follows. By the energies of the 
Beings, he means those powers which have produced the Son and the 
Holy Spirit, and by which the First Being made the Second, and the 
Second the Third: and he means that the names of the results produced 
have been provided in a manner appropriate to those results. We have 
already exposed the mischief of these names, and will again, when we 
return to that part of the question, should additional discussion of it be 
required. 

But it is worth a moment's while now to consider how energies 'follow' 
beings: what these energies are essentially: whether different to the beings 
which they 'follow,' or part of them, and of their inmost nature: and then, 
if different, how and whence they arise: if the same, how they have got cut 
off from them, and instead of co-existing 'follow' them externally only. 
This is necessary, for we cannot learn all at once from his words whether 
some natural necessity compels the 'energy,' whatever that may be, to 
'follow' the being, the way heat and vapor follow fire, and the various 
exhalations the bodies which produce them. Still I do not think that he 
would affirm that we should consider the being of God to be something 
heterogeneous and composite, having the energy inalienably contained in 
the idea of itself, like an 'accident' in some subject-matter: he must mean 
that the beings, deliberately and voluntarily moved, produce by 
themselves the desired result. But, if this be so, who would style this free 
result of intention as one of its external consequences? We have never 
heard of such an expression used in common parlance in such cases; the 
energy of the worker of anything is not said to 'follow' that worker. We 
cannot separate one from the other and leave one behind by itself: but, 
when one mentions the energy, one comprehends in the idea that which is 



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moved with the energy, and when one mentions the worker one implies at 
once the unmentioned energy. 

An illustration will make our meaning clearer. We say a man works in iron, 
or in wood, or in anything else. This single expression conveys at once the 
idea of the working and of the artificer, so that if we withdraw the one, the 
other has no existence. If then they are thus thought of together, i.e. the 
energy and he who exercises it, how in this case can there be said to 
"follow" upon the first being the energy which produces the second being, 
like a sort of go-between to both, and neither coalescing with the nature of 
the first, nor combining with the second: separated from the first because 
it is not its very nature, but only the exercise of its nature, and from that 
which results afterwards because it does not therein reproduce a mere 
energy, but an active being. 

18. He has no reason for distinguishing a plurality of beings in the Trinity. He 
offers no demonstration that it is so. 

Let us examine the following as well. He calls one Being the work of 
another, the second of the first, and the third of the second. On what 
previous demonstration does this statement rest: what proofs does he 
make use of, what method, to compel belief in the succeeding Being as a 
result of the preceding? For even if it were possible to draw an analogy for 
this from created things, such conjecturing about the transcendent from 
lower existences would not be altogether sound, though the error in arguing 
from natural phenomena to the incomprehensible might then be 
pardonable. But as it is, none would venture to affirm that, while the 
heavens are the work of God, the sun is that of the heavens, and the moon 
that of the sun, and the stars that of the moon, and other created things 
that of the stars: seeing that all are the work of One: for there is one God 
and Father of all, of Whom are all things. If anything is produced by 
mutual transmission, such as the race of animals, not even here does one 
produce another, for nature runs on through each generation. How then, 
when it is impossible to affirm it of the created world, can he declare of the 
transcendent existencies that the second is a work of the first, and so on? 
If, however, he is thinking of animal generation, and fancies that such a 
process is going on also amongst pure existences, so that the older 
produces the younger, even so he fails to be consistent: for such 



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productions are of the same type as their progenitors: whereas he assigns 
to the members of his succession strange and uninherited qualities: and 
thus displays a superfluity of falsehood, while striving to strike truth with 
both hands at once, in a clever boxer's fashion. In order to show the 
inferior rank and diminution in intrinsic value of the Son and Holy Spirit, 
he declares that "one is produced from another" in order that those who 
understand about mutual generation might entertain no idea of family 
relationship here: he contradicts the law of nature by declaring that "one is 
produced from another," and at the same time exhibiting the Son as a 
bastard when compared with His Father's nature. 

But one might find fault with him, I think, before coming to all this. If, that 
is, any one else, previously unaccustomed to discussion and unversed in 
logical expression, delivered his ideas in this chance fashion, some 
indulgence might be shown him for not using the recognized methods for 
establishing his views. But considering that Eunomius has such an 
abundance of this power, that he can advance by his 'irresistible' method 
of proof even into the supra-natural, how can he be ignorant of the 
starting-point from which this 'irresistible' perception of a hidden truth 
takes its rise in all these logical excursions. Every one knows that all such 
arguing must start from plain and well-known truths, to compel belief 
through itself in still doubtful truths: and that none of these last can be 
grasped without the guidance of what is obvious leading us towards the 
unknown. If on the other hand that which is adopted to start with for the 
illustration of this unknown is at variance with universal belief, it will be a 
long time before the unknown will receive any illustration from it. 

The whole controversy, then, between the Church and the Anomoeans 
turns on this: Are we to regard the Son and the Holy Spirit as belonging to 
created or uncreated existence? Our opponent declares that to be the case 
which all deny: he boldly lays it down, without looking about for any 
proof, that each being is the work of the preceding being. What method of 
education, what school of thought can warrant him in this, it is difficult to 
see. Some axiom that cannot be denied or assailed must be the beginning of 
every process of proof; so as for the unknown quantity to be 
demonstrated from what has been assumed, being legitimately deduced by 
intervening syllogisms. The reasoner, therefore, who makes what ought to 
be the object of inquiry itself a premise of his demonstration is only 



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proving the obscure by the obscure, and illusion by illusion. He is making 
'the blind lead the blind,' for it is a truly blind and unsupported statement 
to say that the Creator and Maker of all things is a creature made and to 
this they link on a conclusion that is also blind: namely, that the Son is 
alien in nature unlike in being to the Father, and quite devoid of His 
essential character. But of this enough. Where his thought is nakedly 
blasphemous, there we too can defer its refutation. We must now return to 
consider his words which come next in order. 

19. His acknowledgment that the Divine Being is 'single' is only verbal. 

"Each Being has, in fact and in conception, a nature unmixed, single, and 
absolutely one as estimated by its dignity; and as the works are bounded 
by the energies of each operator, and the energies by the works, it is 
inevitable that the energies which follow each Being are greater in the one 
case than the other, some being of the first, others of the second rank." 
The intention that runs through all this, however verbosely expressed, is 
one and the same; namely, to establish that there is no connection between 
the Father and the Son, or between the Son and the Holy Ghost, but that 
these Beings are sundered from each other, and possess natures foreign and 
unfamiliar to each other, and differ not only in that, but also in magnitude 
and in subordination of their dignities, so that we must think of one as 
greater than the other, and presenting every other sort of difference. 

It may seem to many useless to linger over what is so obvious, and to 
attempt a discussion of that which to them is on the face of it false and 
abominable and groundless: nevertheless, to avoid even the appearance of 
having to let these statements pass for want of counter-arguments, we will 
meet them with all our might. He says, "each being amongst them is 
unmixed, single, and absolutely one, as estimated by its dignity, both in 
fact and in conception? Then premising this very doubtful statement as an 
axiom and valuing his own 'ipse dixit' as a sufficient substitute for any 
proof, he thinks he has made a point. "There are three Beings:" for he 
implies this when he says, 'each being amongst them:' he would not have 
used these words, if he meant only one. Now if he speaks thus of the 
mutual difference between the Beings in order to avoid complicity with the 
heresy of Sabellius, who applied three titles to one subject, we would 
acquiesce in his statement: nor would any of the Faithful contradict his 



115 

view, except so far as he seems to be at fault in his names, and his mere 
form of expression in speaking of 'beings' instead of 'persons:' for things 
that are identical on the score of being will not all agree equally in 
definition on the score of personality. For instance, Peter, James, and John 
are the same viewed as beings, each was a man: but in the characteristics of 
their respective personalities, they were not alike. If, then, he were only 
proving that it is not right to confound the Persons, and to fit all the three 
names on to one Subject, his 'saying' would be, to use the Apostle's 
words, 'faithful, and worthy of all acceptation.' But this is not his object: 
he speaks so, not because he divides the Persons only from each other by 
their recognized characteristics, but because he makes the actual 
substantial being of each different from that of the others, or rather from 
itself: and so he speaks of a plurality of beings with distinctive differences 
which alienate them from each other. I therefore declare that his view is 
unfounded, and lacks a principle: it starts from data that are not granted, 
and then it constructs by mere logic a blasphemy upon them. It attempts 
no demonstration that could attract towards such a conception of the 
doctrine: it merely contains the statement of an unproved impiety, as if it 
were telling us a dream. While the Church teaches that we must not divide 
our faith amongst a plurality of beings, but must recognize no difference of 
being in three Subjects or Persons, whereas our opponents posit a variety 
and unlikeness amongst them as Beings, this writer confidently assumes as 
already proved what never has been, and never can be, proved by 
argument: maybe he has not even yet found hearers for his talk: or he 
might have been informed by one of them who was listening intelligently 
that every statement which is made at random, and without proof, is 'an 
old woman's tale,' and powerless to prove the question, in itself, unaided 
by any plea whatever fetched from the Scriptures, or flora human 
reasonings. So much for this. 

But let us still scrutinize his words. He declares each of these Beings, 
whom he has shadowed forth in his exposition, to be single and absolutely 
one. We believe that the most boorish and simple-minded would not deny 
that the Divine Nature, blessed and transcendent as it is, was 'single.' That 
which is viewless, formless, and sizeless, cannot be conceived of as 
multiform and composite. But it will be clear, upon the very slightest 
reflection, that this view of the supreme Being as 'simple,' however finely 



116 

they may talk of it, is quite inconsistent with the system which they have 
elaborated. For who does not know that, to be exact, simplicity in the case 
of the Holy Trinity admits of no degrees. In this case there is no mixture 
or conflux of qualities to think of; we comprehend a potency without 
parts and composition; how then, and on what grounds, could any one 
perceive there any differences of less and more. For he who marks 
differences there must perforce think of an incidence of certain qualities in 
the subject. He must in fact have perceived differences in largeness and 
smallness therein, to have introduced this conception of quantity into the 
question: or be must posit abundance or diminution in the matter of 
goodness, strength, wisdom, or of anything else that can with reverence be 
associated with God: and neither way will he escape the idea of 
composition. Nothing which possesses wisdom or power or any other 
good, not as an external gift, but rooted in its nature, can suffer diminution 
in it; so that if any one says that he detects Beings greater and smaller in 
the Divine Nature, he is unconsciously establishing a composite and 
heterogeneous Deity, and thinking of the Subject as one thing, and the 
quality, to share in which constitutes as good that which was not so 
before, as another. If he had been thinking of a Being really single and 
absolutely one, identical with goodness rather than possessing it, he would 
not be able to count a greater and a less in it at all. It was said, moreover, 
above that good can be diminished by the presence of evil alone, and that 
where the nature is incapable of deteriorating, there is no limit conceived of 
to the goodness: the unlimited, in fact, is not such owing to any relation 
whatever, but, considered in itself, escapes limitation. It is, indeed, 
difficult to see how a reflecting mind can conceive one infinite to be greater 
or less than another infinite. So that if he acknowledges the supreme Being 
to be 'single' and homogenous, let him grant that it is bound up with this 
universal attribute of simplicity and infinitude. If, on the other hand, he 
divides and estranges the 'Beings' from each other, conceiving that of the 
Only -begotten as another than the Father's, and that of the Spirit as 
another than the Only-begotten, with a 'more' and 'less' in each case, let 
him be exposed now as granting simplicity in appearance only to the 
Deity, but in reality proving the composite in Him. 

But let us resume the examination of his words in order. "Each Being has 
in fact and conception a nature unmixed, single, and absolutely one, as 



117 

estimated by its dignity." Why "as estimated by its dignity?" If he 
contemplates the Beings in their common dignity, this addition is 
unnecessary and superfluous, and dwells upon that which is obvious: 
although a word so out of place might be pardoned, if it was any feeling of 
reverence which prompted him not to reject it. But here the mischief really 
is not owing to an, mistake about a phrase (that might be easily set right): 
but it is connected with his evil designs. He says that each of the three 
beings is 'single, as estimated by its dignity,' in order that, on the strength 
of his previous definitions of the first, second, and third Being, the idea of 
their simplicity also may be marred. Having affirmed that the being of the 
Father alone is 'Supreme' and 'Proper,' and having refused both these 
titles to that of the Son and of the Spirit, in accordance with this, when he 
comes to speak of them all as simple,' be thinks it his duty to associate 
with them the idea of simplicity in proportion only to their essential 
worth, so that the Supreme alone is to be conceived of as at the height and 
perfection of simplicity, while the second, in proportion to its declension 
from supremacy, receives also a diminished measure of simplicity, and in 
the case of the third Being also, there is as much variation from the perfect 
simplicity, as the amount of worth is lessened in the extremes: whence it 
results that the Father' s being is conceived as of pure simplicity, that of 
the Son as not so flawless in simplicity, but with a mixture of the 
composite, that of the Holy Spirit as still increasing in the composite, 
while the amount of simplicity is gradually lessened. Just as imperfect 
goodness must be owned to share in some measure in the reverse 
disposition, so imperfect simplicity cannot escape being considered 
composite. 

20. He does wrong in assuming, to account far the existence of the Only-begotten, 
an 'energy' that produced Christ's Person. 

That such is his intention in using these phrases will be clear from what 
follows, where he more plainly materializes and degrades our conception 
of the Son and of the Spirit. "As the energies are bounded by the works, 
and the works commensurate with the energies, it necessarily follows that 
these energies which accompany these Beings are relatively greater and 
less, some being of a higher, some of a lower order." Though he has 
studiously wrapt the mist of his phraseology round the meaning of this, 
and made it hard for most to find out, yet as following that which we have 



118 

already examined it will easily be made clear. "The energies," he says, "are 
bounded by the works." By 'works' he means the Son and the Spirit, by 
'energies' the efficient powers by which they were produced, which 
powers, he said a little above, 'follow' the Beings. The phrase 'bounded 
by' expresses the balance which exists between the being produced and the 
producing power, or rather the 'energy' of that power, to use his own 
word implying that the thing produced is not the effect of the whole 
power of the operator, but only of a particular energy of it, only so much 
of the whole power being exerted as is calculated to be likely to be equal to 
effect that result. Then he inverts his statement: "and the works are 
commensurate with the energies of the operators." The meaning of this 
will be made clearer by an illustration. Let us think of one of the tools of a 
shoemaker: i.e., a leather-cutter. When it is moved round upon that from 
which a certain shape has to be cut, the part so excised is limited by the 
size of the instrument, and a circle of such a radius will be cut as the 
instrument possesses of length, and, to put the matter the other way, the 
span of the instrument will measure and cut out a corresponding circle. 
That is the idea which our theologian has of the divine person of the 
Only -begotten. He declares that a certain 'energy' which 'follows' upon 
the first Being produced, in the fashion of such a tool, a corresponding 
work, namely our Lord: this is his way of glorifying the Son of God, Who 
is even now glorified in the glory of the Father, and shall be revealed in the 
Day of Judgment. He is a 'work commensurate with the producing 
energy.' But what is this energy which 'follows' the Almighty and is to be 
conceived of prior to the Only-begotten, and which circumscribes His 
being? A certain essential Power, self-subsisting, which works its will by a 
spontaneous impulse. It is this, then, that is the real Father of our Lord. 
And why do we go on talking of the Almighty as the Father, if it was not 
He, but an energy belonging to the things which follow Him externally that 
produced the Son: and how can the Son be a son any longer, when 
something else has given Him existence according to Eunomius, and He 
creeps like a bastard (may our Lord pardon the expression!) into 
relationship with the Father, and is to be honored in name only as a Son? 
How can Eunomius rank our Lord next after the Almighty at all, when he 
counts Him third only, with that mediating 'energy' placed in the second 
place? The Holy Spirit also according to this sequence will be found not in 
the third, but in the fifth place, that 'energy' which follows the 



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Only-Begotten, and by which the Holy Spirit came into existence 
necessarily intervening between them. 

Thereby, too, the creation of all things by the Son will be found to have no 
foundation: another personality, prior to Him, has been invented by our 
neologian, to which the authorship of the world must be referred, because 
the Son Himself derives His being according to them from that 'energy.' If, 
however, to avoid such profanities, he makes this 'energy' which 
produced the Son into something unsubstantial, he will have to explain to 
us how non-being can 'follow' being, and how what is not a substance can 
produce a substance: for, if he did that, we shall find an unreality following 
God, the non-existent author of all existence, the radically unsubstantial 
circumscribing a substantial nature, the operative force of creation 
contained, in the last resort, in the unreal. Such is the result of the teaching 
of this theologian who affirms of the Lord Artificer of heaven and earth 
and of all the Creation, the Word of God Who was in the beginning, 
through Whom are all things, that He owes His existence to such a baseless 
entity or conception as that unnamable 'energy' which he has just 
invented, and that He is circumscribed by it, as by an enclosing prison of 
unreality. He who 'gazes into the unseen 'cannot see the conclusion to 
which Iris teaching tends. It is this: if this 'energy' of God has no real 
existence, and if the work that this unreality produces is also 
circumscribed by it, it is quite clear that we can only think of such a nature 
in the work, as that which is possessed by this fancied producer of the 
work: in fact, that which is produced from and is contained by an unreality 
can itself be conceived of as nothing else but a non-entity. Opposites, in 
the nature of things, cannot be contained by opposites: such as water by 
fire, life by death, light by darkness, being by non-being. But with all his 
excessive cleverness he does not see this: or else he consciously shuts his 
eyes to the truth. 

Some necessity compels him to see a diminution in the Son, and to 
establish a further advance in this direction in the case of the Holy Ghost. 
"It necessarily follows," he says, "that these energies which accompany 
these Beings are relatively greater and less." This compelling necessity in 
the Divine nature, which assigns a greater and a less, has not been 
explained to us by Eunomius, nor as yet can we ourselves understand it. 
Hitherto there has prevailed with those who accept the Gospel in its plain 



120 

simplicity the belief that there is no necessity above the Godhead to bend 
the Only-begotten, like a slave, to inferiority. But he quite overlooks this 
belief, though it was worth some consideration; and he dogmatizes that we 
must conceive of this inferiority. But this necessity of his does not stop 
there: it lands him still further in blasphemy: as our examination in detail 
has already shewn. If, that is, the Son was born, not from the Father, but 
from some unsubstantial 'energy,' He must be thought of as not merely 
inferior to the Father, and this doctrine must end in pure Judaism. This 
necessity, when followed out, exhibits the, product of a non-entity as not 
merely insignificant, but as something which it is a perilous blasphemy 
even for an accuser to name. For as that which has its birth from an 
existence necessarily exists, so that which is evolved from the non-existent 
necessarily does the very contrary. When anything is not self-existent, 
how can it generate another? 

If, then, this energy which 'follows' the Deity, and produces the Son, has 
no existence of its own, no one can be so blind as not to see the 
conclusion, and that his aim is to deny our Savior's deity: and if the 
personality of the Son is thus stolen by their doctrine from the Faith, with 
nothing left of it but the name, it will be a long time before the Holy 
Ghost, descended as He will be from a lineage of unrealities, will be 
believed in again. The energy which 'follows' the Deity has no existence of 
its own: then common sense requires the product of this to be unreal: then 
a second unsubstantial energy follows this product: then it is declared that 
the Holy Ghost is formed by this energy: so that their blasphemy is plain 
enough: it consists in nothing less than in denying that after the Ingenerate 
God there is any real existence: and their doctrine advances into shadowy 
and unsubstantial fictions, where there is no foundation of any actual 
subsistence. In such monstrous conclusions does their teaching strand the 
argument. 

21. The blasphemy of these heretics is worse than the Jewish unbelief. 

But let us assume that this is not so: for they allow, forsooth, in theoretic 
kindness towards humanity, that the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit 
have some personal existence: and if, in allowing this, they had granted too 
the consequent conceptions about them, they would not have been waging 
battle about the doctrine of the Church, nor cut themselves off from the 



121 

hope of Christians. But if they have lent an existence to the Son and the 
Spirit, only to furnish a material on which to erect their blasphemy, 
perhaps it might have been better for them, though it is a bold thing to say, 
to abjure the Faith and apostatize to the Jewish religion, rather than to 
insult the name of Christian by this mock assent. The Jews at all events, 
though they have persisted hitherto in rejecting the Word, carry their 
impiety only so far as to deny that Christ has come, but to hope that He 
will come: we do not hear from them any malignant or destructive 
conception of the glory of Him Whom they expect. But this school of the 
new circumcision, or rather of "the concision," while they own that He has 
come, resemble nevertheless those who insulted our Lord's bodily 
presence by their wanton unbelief. They wanted to stone our Lord: these 
men stone Him with their blasphemous titles. They urged His humble and 
obscure origin, and rejected His divine birth before the ages: these men in 
the same way deny His grand, sublime, ineffable generation from the 
Father, and would prove that He owes His existence to a creation, just as 
the human race, and all that is born, owe theirs. In the eyes of the Jews it 
was a crime that our Lord should be regarded as Son of the Supreme: these 
men also are indignant against those who are sincere in making this 
confession of Him. The Jews thought to honor the Almighty by excluding 
the Son from equal reverence: these men, by annihilating the glory of the 
Son, think to bestow more honor on the Father. But it would be difficult 
to do justice to the number and the nature of the insults which they heap 
upon the Only-begotten: they invent an 'energy' prior to the personality 
of the Son and say that He is its work and product: a thing which the Jews 
hitherto have not dared to say. Then they circumscribe His nature shutting 
Him off within certain limits of the power which made Him: the amount of 
this productive energy is a sort of measure within which they enclose 
Him: they have devised it as a sort of cloak to muffle Him up in. We 
cannot charge the Jews with doing this. 

22. He has no right to assert a greater and less in the Divine being. A systematic 
statement of the teaching of the Church. 

Then they discover in His being a certain shortness in the way of 
deficiency, though they do not tell us by what method they measure that 
which is devoid of quantity and size: they are able to find out exactly by 
how much the size of the Only -begotten falls short of perfection, and 



122 

therefore has to be classed with the inferior and imperfect: much else they 
lay down, partly by open assertion, partly by underhand inference: all the 
time making their confession of the Son and the Spirit a mere 
exercise-ground for their unbelieving spirit. How, then, can we fail to pity 
them more even than the condemned Jews, when views never ventured 
upon by the latter are inferred by the former? He who makes the being of 
the Son and of the Spirit comparatively less, seems, so far as words go 
perhaps, to commit but a slight profanity: but if one were to test his view 
stringently it will be found the height of blasphemy. Let us look into this, 
then, and let indulgence be shown me, if, for the sake of doctrine, and to 
place in a clear light the lie which they have demonstrated, I advance into 
an exposition of our own conception of the truth. 

Now the ultimate division of all being is into the Intelligible and the 
Sensible. The Sensible world is called by the Apostle broadly "that which 
is seen." For as all body has color, and the sight apprehends this, he calls 
this world by the rough and ready name of "that which is seen," leaving 
out all the other qualities, which are essentially inherent in its framework. 
The common term, again, for all the intellectual world, is with the Apostle 
"that which is not seen:" by withdrawing all idea of comprehension by the 
senses he leads the mind on to the immaterial and intellectual. Reason again 
divides this "which is not seen" into the uncreate and the created, 
inferentially comprehending it: the uncreate being that which effects the 
Creation, the created that which owes its origin and its force to the 
uncreate. In the Sensible world, then, is found everything that we 
comprehend by our organs of bodily sense, and in which the differences of 
qualities involve the idea of more and less, such differences consisting in 
quantity, quality, and the other properties. 

But in the Intelligible world, — that part of it, I mean, which is created, — 
the idea of such differences as are perceived in the Sensible cannot find a 
place: another method, then, is devised for discovering the degrees of 
greater and less. The fountain, the origin, the supply of every good is 
regarded as being in the world that is uncreate, and the whole creation 
inclines to that, and touches and shares the Highest Existence only by 
virtue of its part in the First Good: therefore it follows from this 
participation in the highest blessings varying in degree according to the 
amount of freedom in the will that each possesses, that the greater and less 



123 

in this creation is disclosed according to the proportion of this tendency in 
each. Created intelligible nature stands on the borderline between good and 
the reverse, so as to be capable of either, and to incline at pleasure to the 
things of its choice, as we learn from Scripture; so that we can say of it 
that it is more or less in the heights of excellence only in proportion to its 
removal from the evil and its approach to the good. Whereas uncreate 
intelligible nature is far removed from such distinctions: it does not 
possess the good by acquisition, or participate only in the goodness of 
some good which lies above it: in its own essence it is good, and is 
conceived as such: it is a source of good, it is simple, uniform, 
incomposite, even by the confession of our adversaries. But it has 
distinction within itself in keeping with the majesty of its own nature, but 
not conceived of with regard to quantity, as Eunomius supposes: (indeed 
the man who introduces the notion of less of good into any of the things 
believed to be in the Holy Trinity must admit thereby some admixture of 
the opposite quality in that which fails of the good: and it is blasphemous 
to imagine this in the case either of the Only-begotten, or of the Holy 
Spirit): we regard it as consummately perfect and incomprehensibly 
excellent yet as containing clear distinctions within itself which reside in 
the peculiarities of each of the Persons: as possessing invariableness by 
virtue of its common attribute of uncreatedness, but differentiated by the 
unique character of each Person. This peculiarity contemplated in each 
sharply and clearly divides one from the other the Father, for instance, is 
uncreate and ungenerate as well: He was never generated any more than He 
was created. While this uncreatedness is common to Him and the Son, and 
the Spirit, He is ungenerate as well as the Father. This is peculiar and 
uncommunicable, being not seen in the other Persons. The Son in His 
uncreatedness touches the Father and the Spirit, but as the Son and the 
Only-begotten He has a character which is not that of the Almighty or of 
the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit by the uncreatedness of His nature has 
contact with the Son and Father, but is distinguished from them by His 
own tokens. His most peculiar characteristic is that He is neither of those 
things which we contemplate in the Father and the Son respectively. He is 
simply, neither as ungenerate, nor as only -begotten: this it is that 
constitutes His chief peculiarity. Joined to the Father by His 
uncreatedness, He is disjoined from Him again by not being 'Father.' 
United to the Son by the bond of uncreatedness, and of deriving His 



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existence from the Supreme, He is parted again from Him by the 
characteristic of not being the Only-begotten of the Father, and of having 
been manifested by means of the Son Himself. Again, as the creation was 
effected by the Only-begotten, in order to secure that the Spirit should not 
be considered to have something in common with this creation because of 
His having been manifested by means of the Son, He is distinguished from 
it by His unchangeableness, and independence of all external goodness. 
The creation does not possess in its nature this unchangeableness, as the 
Scripture says in the description of the fall of the morning star, the 
mysteries on which subject are revealed by our Lord to His disciples: "I 
saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven." But the very attributes which 
part Him from the creation constitute His relationship to the Father and 
the Son. All that is incapable of degenerating has one and the same 
definition of "unchangeable." 

Having stated thus much as a preface we are in a position to discuss the 
rest of our adversaries' teaching. "It necessarily follows," he says in his 
system of the Son and the Spirit, "that the Beings are relatively greater and 
less." Let us then inquire what is the meaning of this necessity of 
difference. Does it arise from a comparison formed from measuring them 
one with another in some material way, or from viewing them on the 
spiritual ground of more or less of moral excellence, or on that of pure 
being? But in the case of this last it has been shown by competent thinkers 
that it is impossible to conceive of any difference whatever, if one 
abstracts being from attributes and properties, and looks at it according to 
its bare definition. Again, to conceive of this difference as consisting in the 
case of the Only-begotten and the Spirit in the intensity or abatement of 
moral excellence, and in consequence to hint that their nature admits of 
change in either direction, so as to be equally capable of opposites, and to 
be placed in a borderland between moral beauty and its opposite — that is 
gross profanity. A man who thinks this will be proving that their nature is 
one thing in itself, and becomes something else by virtue of its 
participation in this beauty or its opposite: as happens with iron for 
example: if it is approached some time to the fire, it assumes the quality of 
heat while remaining iron: if it is put in snow or ice, it changes its quality 
to the mastering influence, and lets the snow's coldness pass into its 
pores. 



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Now just as we cannot name the material of the iron from the quality now 
to be observed upon it (for we do not give the name of fire or ice to that 
which is tempered with either of these), so the moment we grant the view 
of these heretics, that in the case of the Life-giving Power good does not 
reside in It essentially, but is imparted to it only, it will become 
impossible to call it properly good: such a conception of it will compel us 
to regard it as something different, as not eternally exhibiting the good, as 
not in itself to be classed amongst genuine goods, but as such that the good 
is at times not in it, and is at times not likely to be in it. If these existences 
become good only by sharing in a something superior to themselves, it is 
plain that before this participation they were not good, and if, being other 
than good, they were then colored by the influence of good they must 
certainly, if again isolated from this, be considered other than good: so 
that, if this heresy prevails, the Divine Nature cannot be apprehended as 
transmissive of good, but rather as itself needing goodness: for how can 
one impart to another that which he does not himself possess? If it is in a 
state of perfection, no abatement of that can be conceived, and it is absurd 
to talk of less of perfection. If on the other hand its participation of good 
is an imperfect one, and this is what they mean by 'less,' mark the 
consequence that anything in that state can never help an inferior, but will 
be busied in satisfying its own want: so that, according to them, 
Providence is a fiction, and so is the judgment and the Dispensation of the 
Only-begotten, and all the other works believed to be done, and still doing 
by Him: for He will necessarily be employed in taking care of His own 
good, and must abandon the supervision of the Universe. 

If, then, this surmise is to have its way, namely, that our Lord is not 
perfected in every kind of good, it is very easy to see the conclusion of the 
blasphemy. This being so, our faith is vain, and our preaching vain; our 
hopes, which take their substance from our faith, are unsubstantial. Why 
are they baptized into Christ, if He has no power of goodness of His own? 
God forgive me for saying it! Why do they believe in the Holy Ghost, if 
the same account is given of Him? How are they regenerate by baptism 
from their mortal birth, if the regenerating Power does not possess in its 
own nature infallibility and independence? How can their 'vile body' be 
changed, while they think that He who is to change it Himself needs 
change, i.e. another to change Him? For as long as a nature is in defect as 



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regards the good, the superior existence exerts upon this inferior one a 
ceaseless attraction towards itself: and this craving for more will never 
stop: it will be stretching out to something not yet grasped: the subject of 
this deficiency will be always demanding a supply, always altering into 
the grander nature, and yet will never touch perfection, because it cannot 
find a goal to grasp, and cease its impulse upward. The First Good is in its 
nature infinite, and so it follows of necessity that the participation in the 
enjoyment of it will be infinite also, for more will be always being grasped, 
and yet something beyond that which has been grasped will always be 
discovered, and this search will never overtake its Object, because its fund 
is as inexhaustible as the growth of that which participates in it is 
ceaseless. 

Such, then, are the blasphemies which emerge from their making 
differences between the Persons as to the good. If on the other band the 
degrees of more or less are to be understood in this case in some material 
sense, the absurdity of this surmise will be obvious at once, without 
examination in detail. Ideas of quality and distance, weight and figure, and 
all that goes to complete the notion of a body, will perforce be introduced 
along with such a surmise into the view of the Divine Nature: and where a 
compound is assumed, there the dissolution also of that compound must 
be admitted. A teaching so monstrous, which dares to discover a smaller 
and a larger in what is sizeless and not concrete lands us in these and 
suchlike conclusions, a few samples only of which are here indicated: nor 
indeed would it be easy to unveil all the mischief that lurks beneath it. Still 
the shocking absurdity that results from their blasphemous premise will be 
clear from ibis brief notice. We now proceed to their next position, after a 
short defining and confirmation of our own doctrine. For an inspired 
testimony is a sure test of the truth of any doctrine: and so it seems to me 
that ours may be well guaranteed by a quotation from the divine words. 

In the division of all existing things, then, we find these distinctions. There 
is, as appealing to our perceptions, the Sensible world: and there is, 
beyond this, the world which the mind, led on by objects of sense, can 
view: I mean the Intelligible: and in this we detect again a further 
distinction into the Created and the Uncreate: to the latter of which we 
have defined the Holy Trinity to belong, to the former all that can exist or 
can be thought of after that. But in order that this statement may not be 



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left without a proof, but may be confirmed by Scripture, we will add that 
our Lord was not created, but came forth from the Father, as the Word 
with His own lips attests in the Gospel, in a manner of birth or of 
proceeding ineffable and mysterious: and what truer witness could be 
found than this constant declaration of our Lord all through the Gospel, 
that the Very Father was a father, not a creator, of Himself, and that He 
was not a work of God, but Son of God? Just as when He wished to name 
His connection with humanity according to the flesh, He called that phase 
of his being Son of Man, indicating thereby His kinship according to the 
nature of the flesh with her from whom He was born, so also by the title 
of Son he expresses His true and real relationship to the Almighty, by that 
name of Son showing this natural connection: no matter if there are some 
who, for the contradiction of the truth, do take literally and without any 
explanation, words used with a hidden meaning in the dark form of 
parable, and adduce the expression 'created,' put into the mouth of 
Wisdom by the author of the Proverbs, to support their perverted views. 
They say, in tact, that "the Lord created me" is a proof that our Lord is a 
creature, as if the Only-begotten Himself in that word confessed it. But we 
need not heed such an argument. They do not give reasons why we must 
refer that text to our Lord at all: neither will they be able to show that the 
idea of the word in the Hebrew leads to this and no other meaning, seeing 
that the other translators have rendered it by "possessed" or 
"constituted:" nor, finally, even if this was the idea in the original text, 
would its real meaning be so plain and on the surface: for these proverbial 
discourses do not show their aim at once, but rather conceal it, revealing it 
only by an indirect import, and we may judge of the obscurity of this 
particular passage from its context where he says, "When He set His 
throne upon the winds," and all the similar expressions. What is God's 
throne? Is it material or ideal? What are the winds? Are they these winds 
so familiar to us, which the natural philosophers tell us are formed from 
vapors and exhalations: or are they to be understood in another way not 
familiar to man, when they are called the bases of His throne? What is this 
throne of the immaterial, incomprehensible, and formless Deity? Who 
could possibly understand all this in a literal sense? 

23. These doctrines of our Faith witnessed to and confirmed by Scripture 

passages. 



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It is therefore clear that these are metaphors, which contain a deeper 
meaning than the obvious one: so that there is no reason from them that 
any suspicion that our Lord was created should be entertained by reverent 
inquirers, who have been trained according to the grand words of the 
evangelist, that "all things that have been made were made by Him" and 
"consist in Him." "Without Him was not anything made that was made." 
The evangelist would not bare so defined it if he had believed that our Lord 
was one among the things made. How could all things be made by Him and 
in Him consist, unless their Maker possessed a nature different from 
theirs, and so produced, not Himself, but them? If the creation was by 
Him, but He was not by Himself, plainly He is something outside the 
creation. And after the evangelist has by these words so plainly declared 
that the things that were made were made by the Son, and did not pass 
into existence by any other channel, Paul follows and, to leave no ground 
at all for this profane talk which numbers even the Spirit amongst the 
things that were made, he mentions one after another all the existencies 
which the evangelist's words imply: just as David in fact, after having said 
that "all things" were put in subjection to man, adds each species which 
that "all" comprehends, that is, the creatures on land, in water, and in air, 
so does Paul the Apostle: expounder of the divine doctrines, after saying 
that all things were made by Him, define by numbering them the meaning 
of "all." He speaks of "the things that are seen" and "the things that are 
not seen:" by the first he gives a general name to all things cognizable by 
the senses, as we have seen: by the latter he shadows forth the intelligible 
world. 

Now about the first there is no necessity of going into minute detail. No 
one is so carnal, so brutelike, as to imagine that the Spirit resides in the 
sensible world. But after Paul has mentioned "the things that are not seen" 
he proceeds (in order that none may surmise that the Spirit, because He is 
of the intelligible and immaterial world, on account of this connection 
subsists therein) to another most distinct division into the things that have 
been made in the way of creation, and the existence that is above creation. 
He mentions the several classes of these created intelligibles: " thrones," 
"dominions," "principalities," "powers," conveying his doctrine about 
these unseen influences in broadly comprehensive terms: but by his very 
silence he separates from his list of things created that which is above 



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them. It is just as if any one was required to name the sectional and 
inferior officers in some army, and after he had gone through them all, the 
commanders of tens, the commanders of hundreds, the captains and the 
colonels, and all the other names given to the authorities over divisions, 
omitted after all to speak of the supreme command which extended over all 
the others: not from deliberate neglect, or from forgetfulness, but because 
when required or intending to name only the several ranks which served 
under it, it would have been an insult to include this supreme command in 
the list of the inferior. So do we find it with Paul, who once in Paradise 
was admitted to mysteries, when he had been caught up there, and had 
become a spectator of the wonders that are above the heavens, and saw 
and heard "thing: which it is not lawful for a man to utter." This Apostle 
proposes to tell us of all that has been created by our Lord, and he gives 
them under certain comprehensive terms: but, having traversed all the 
angelic and transcendental world, he stops his reckoning there, and refuses 
to drag down to the level of creation that which is above it. Hence there is 
a clear testimony in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is higher than the 
creation. Should any one attempt to refute this, by urging that neither are 
the Cherubim mentioned by Paul, that they equally with the Spirit are left 
out, and that therefore this omission must prove either that they also are 
above the creation, or that the Holy Spirit is not any more than they to be 
believed above it, let him measure the full intent of each name in the list: 
and he will find amongst them that which from not being actually 
mentioned seems, but only seems, omitted. Under "thrones" he includes 
the Cherubim, giving them this Greek name, as more intelligible than the 
Hebrew name for them. He knew that "God sits upon the Cherubim:" and 
so he calls these Powers the thrones of Him who sits thereon. In the same 
way there are included in the list Isaiah's Seraphim, by whom the mystery 
of the Trinity was luminously proclaimed, when they uttered that 
marvelous cry "Holy," being awestruck With the beauty in each Person of 
the Trinity. They are named under the title of "powers" both by the 
mighty Paul, and by the prophet David. The latter says, "Bless ye the 
Lord all ye His powers, ye ministers of His that do His pleasure:" and 
Isaiah instead of saying" Bless ye" has written the very words of their 
blessing, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts: the whole earth is full of 
His glory" and he has revealed by what one of the Seraphim did (to him) 
that these powers are ministers that do God's pleasure, effecting the 



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'purging of sin' according to the will of Him Who sent them: for this is the 
ministry of these spiritual beings, viz., to be sent forth for the salvation of 
those who are being saved. 

That divine Apostle perceived this. He understood that the same matter is 
indicated under different names by the two prophets, and he took the best 
known of the two words, and called those Seraphim "powers:" so that no 
ground is left to our critics for saying that any single one of these beings is 
omitted equally with the Holy Ghost from the catalogue of creation. We 
learn from the existences detailed by Paul that while some existences have 
been mentioned, others have been passed over: and while he has taken 
count of the creation in masses as it were, he has (elsewhere) mentioned as 
units those things which are conceived of singly. For it is a peculiarity of 
the Holy Trinity that it is to be proclaimed as consisting of individuals: 
one Father, one Son, one Holy Ghost: whereas those existences aforesaid 
are counted in masses, "dominions," "principalities," "lordships," 
"powers," so as to exclude any suspicion that the Holy Ghost was one of 
them. Paul is wisely silent upon our mysteries; he understands how, after 
having heard those unspeakable words in paradise, to refrain from 
proclaiming those secrets when he is making mention of lower beings. 

But these foes of the truth rush in upon the ineffable; they degrade the 
majesty of the Spirit to the level of the creation; they act as if they had 
never heard that the Word of God, when confiding to His disciples the 
secret of knowing God, Himself said that the life of the regenerate was to 
be completed in them and imparted in the name of Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, and, thereby ranking the Spirit with the Father and Himself, 
precluded Him from being confused with the creation. From both, 
therefore, we may get a reverential and proper conception with regard to 
Him: from Paul's omitting the Spirit's existence in the mention of the 
creation, and from our Lord's joining the Spirit with His Father and 
Himself in mentioning the life-giving power. Thus does our reason, under 
the guidance of the Scripture, place not only the Only-begotten but the 
Holy Spirit as well above the creation, and prompt us in accordance with 
our Savior's command to contemplate Him by faith in the blessed world of 
life giving and uncreated existence: and so this unit, which we believe in, 
above creation, and sharing in the supreme and absolutely perfect nature, 
cannot be regarded as in any way a 'less,' although this teacher of heresy 



131 

attempt to curtail its infinitude by introducing the idea of degrees, and thus 
contracting the divine perfection by defining a greater and a less as residing 
in the Persons. 

24. His elaborate account of degrees and differences in 'works' and 'energies' 
within the Trinity is absurd. 

Now let us see what he adds, as the consequence of this. After saying that 
we must perforce regard the Being as greater and less and that while the 
ones, by virtue of a pre-eminent magnitude and value, occupy a leading 
place, the others must be detruded to a lower place, because their nature 
and their value is secondary, he adds this; "their difference amounts to that 
existing between their works: it would in fact be impious to say that the 
same energy produced the angels or the stars, and the heavens or man; but 
one would positively maintain about this, that in proportion as some 
works are older and more honorable than others, so does one energy 
transcend another, because sameness of energy produces sameness of 
work, and difference of work indicates difference of energy." 

I suspect that their author himself would find it difficult to tell us what he 
meant when he wrote those words. Their thought is obscured by the 
rhetorical mud, which is so thick that one can hardly see beyond any clue 
to interpret them. "Their difference amounts to that existing between their 
works" is a sentence which might be suspected of coming from some 
Loxias of pagan story, mystifying his hearers. But if we may make a guess 
at the drift of his observations here by following out those which we have 
already examined, this would be his meaning, viz., that if we know the 
amount of difference between one work and another, we shall know the 
amount of that between the corresponding energies. But what "works" he 
here speaks of, it is impossible to discover from his words. If he means the 
works to be observed in the creation, I do not see how this hangs on to 
what goes before. For the question was about Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost: what occasion was there, then, for one thinking rationally to 
inquire one after another into the nature of earth, and water, and air, and 
fire, and the different animals, and to distinguish some works as older and 
more honorable than others, and to speak of one energy as transcending 
another? But if he calls the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit "works," 
what does he mean by the "differences" of the energies which produce 



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these works: and what are those wonderful energies of this writer which 
transcend the others? He has neither explained the particular way in which 
he means them to "transcend" each other; nor has he discussed the nature 
of these energies: but he has advanced in neither direction, neither proving 
so far their real subsistence, nor their being some unsubstantial exertion of 
a will. Throughout it all his meaning hangs suspended between these two 
conceptions, and oscillates from one to the other. He adds that "it would 
be impious to say that the same energy produced the angels or the stars, 
and the heavens or man." Again we ask what necessity there is to draw 
this conclusion from his previous remarks? I do not see that it is proved 
any more because the energies vary amongst themselves as much as the 
works do, and because the works are not all from the same source but are 
stated by him to come from different sources. As for the heavens and each 
angel, star, and man, or anything else understood by the word "creation," 
we know from Scripture that they are all the work of One: whereas in their 
system of theology the Son and the Spirit are not the work of one and the 
same, the Son being the work of the energy which 'follows' the first Being, 
and the Spirit the further work of that work. What the connection, then, is 
between that statement and the heavens, man, angel, star, which he drags 
in, must be revealed by himself, or some one whom he has initiated into 
his profound philosophy. The blasphemy intended by his words is plain 
enough, but the way the profanity is stated is inconsistent with itself. To 
suppose that within the Holy Trinity there is a difference as wide as that 
which we can observe between the heavens which envelope the whole 
creation, and one single man or the star which shines in them, is openly 
profane: but still the connection of such thoughts and the pertinence of 
such a comparison is a mystery to me, and I suspect also to its author 
himself. If indeed his account of the creation were of this sort, viz., that 
while the heavens were the work of some transcendent energy each star in 
them was the result of an energy accompanying the heavens, and that then 
an angel was the result of that star, and a man of that angel, his argument 
would then have consisted in a comparison of similar processes, and might 
have somewhat confirmed his doctrine. But since he grants that it was all 
made by One (unless he wishes to contradict Scripture downright), while 
he describes the production of the Persons after a different fashion, what 
connection is there between this newly imported view and what went 
before? 



133 

But let it be granted to him that this comparison does have some 
connection with proving variation amongst the Beings (for this is what he 
desires to establish); still let us see how that which follows hangs on to 
what he has just said, 'In proportion as one work is prior to another and 
more precious than it, so would a piers mind affirm that one energy 
transcends another.' If in this he alludes to the sensible world, the 
statement is a long way from the matter in hand. There is no necessity 
whatever that requires one whose subject is theological to philosophize 
about the order in which the different results achieved in the world-making 
are to come, and to lay down that the energies of the Creator are higher and 
lower analogously to the magnitude of each thing then made. But if he 
speaks of the Persons themselves, and means by works that are 'older and 
more honorable' those 'works' which he has just fashioned in his own 
creed, that is, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, it would be perhaps better to 
pass over in silence such an abominable view, than to create even the 
appearance of its being an argument by entangling ourselves with it. For 
can a 'more honorable' be discovered where there is not a less honorable? 
If he can go so far, and with so light a heart, in profanity as to hint that the 
expression and the idea 'less precious' can be predicated of anything 
whatever which we believe of the Trinity, then it were well to stop our 
ears, and get as quickly as possible out of hearing of such wickedness, and 
the contagion of reasoning which will be transfused into the heart, as from 
a vessel full of uncleanness. 

Can any one dare to speak of the divine and supreme Being in such a way 
that a less degree of honor in comparison is proved by the argument. 
"That all," says the evangelist, "may honor the Son, as they honor the 
Fathers." This utterance (and such an utterance is a law to us) makes a law 
of this equality in honor: yet this man annuls both the law and its Giver, 
and apportions to the One more, to the Other less of honor, by some 
occult method for measuring its extra abundance which he has discovered. 
By the custom of mankind the differences of worth are the measure of the 
amount of honor which each in authority receives; so that inferiors do not 
approach the lower magistracies in the same guise exactly as they do the 
sovereign, and the greater or less display of fear or reverence on their part 
indicates the greater or the less worshipfulness in the objects of it: in fact 
we may discover, in this disposition of inferiors, who are the specially 



134 

honorable; when, for instance, we see some one feared beyond his 
neighbors, or the recipient of more reverence than the rest. But in the case 
of the divine nature, because every perfection in the way of goodness is 
connoted with the very name of God, we cannot discover, at all events as 
we look at it, any ground for degrees of honor. Where there is no greater 
and smaller in power, or glory, or wisdom, or love, or of any other 
imaginable good whatever, but the good which the Son has is the Father's 
also, and all that is the Father's is seen in the Son, what possible state of 
mind can induce us to show the more reverence in the case of the Father? 
If we think of royal power and worth the Son is King: if of a judge, 'all 
judgment is committed to the Son:' if of the magnificent office of Creation, 
'all things were made by Him:' if of the Author of our life, we know the 
True Life came down as far as our nature: if of our being taken out of 
darkness, we know He is the True Light, who weans us from darkness: if 
wisdom is precious to any, Christ is God's power and Wisdom. 

Our very souls, then, being disposed so naturally and in proportion to 
their capacity, and yet so miraculously, to recognize so many and great 
wonders in Christ, what further excess of honor is left us to pay 
exclusively to the Father, as inappropriate to the Son? Human reverence of 
the Deity, looked at in its plainest meaning, is nothing else but an attitude 
of love towards Him, and a confession of the perfections in Him: and I 
think that the precept 'so ought the Son to be honored as the Father,' is 
enjoined by the Word in place of love. For the Law commands that we 
pay to God this fitting honor by loving Him with all our heart and 
strength and here is the equivalent of that love, in that the Word as 
Lawgiver' thus says, that the Son ought to be honored as the Father. 

It was this kind of honor that the great David fully paid, when he 
confessed to the Lord in a prelude of his psalmody that he loved the Lord, 
and told all the reasons for his love, calling Him his "rock" and "fortress," 
and "refuge," and "deliverer," and "God-helper," and "hope," and 
"buckler," and "horn of salvation," and "protector." If the Only-begotten 
Son is not all these to mankind, let the excess of honor be reduced to this 
extent as this heresy dictates: but if we have always believed Him to be, 
and to be entitled to, all this and even more, and to be equal in every 
operation and conception of the good to the majesty of the Father's 
goodness, how can it be pronounced consistent, either not to love such a 



135 

character, or to slight it while we love it? No one can say that we ought to 
love Him with all our heart and strength, but to honor Him only with half. 
If, then, the Son is to be honored with the whole heart in rendering to Him 
all our love, by what device can anything superior to His honor be 
discovered, when such a measure of honor is paid Him in the coin of love 
as our whole heart is capable of? Vainly, therefore, in the case of Beings 
essentially honorable, will any one dogmatize about a superior honor, and 
by comparison suggest an inferior honor. 

Again; only in the case of the creation is it true to speak of 'priority.' The 
sequence of works was there displayed in the order of the days; and the 
heavens may be said to have preceded by so much the making of man, and 
that interval may be measured by the interval of days. But in the divine 
nature, which transcends all idea of time and surpasses all reach of 
thought, to talk of a "prior" and a "later" in the honors of time is a 
privilege only of this new-fangled philosophy. In short he who declares 
the Father to be 'prior' to the subsistence of the Son declares nothing 
short of this, viz., that the Son is later than the things made by the Son (if 
at least it is true to say that all the ages, and all duration of time was 
created after the Son, and by the Son). 

25. He who asserts that the Father is 'prior' to the Son with any thought of an 
interval must perforce allow that even the Father is not without beginning. 

But more than this: what exposes still further the untenableness of this 
view is, that, besides positing a beginning in tithe of the Son's existence, it 
does not, when followed out, spare the Father even, but proves that He 
also had his beginning in time. For any recognizing mark that is 
presupposed for the generation of the Son must certainly define as well 
the Father's beginning. 

To make this clear, it will be well to discuss it more carefully. When he 
pronounces that the life of the Father is prior to that of the Son, he places 
a certain interval between the two; now, he must mean, either that this 
interval is infinite, or that it is included within fixed limits. But the 
principle of an intervening mean will not allow him to call it infinite; he 
would annul thereby the very conception of Father and Son and the 
thought of anything connecting them, as long as this infinite were limited 
on neither side, with no idea of a Father cutting it short above, nor that of 



136 

a Son checking it below. The very nature of the infinite is, to be extended 
in either direction, and to have no bounds of any kind. 

Therefore if the conception of Father and Son is to remain firm and 
immovable, he will find no ground for thinking this interval is infinite: his 
school must place a definite interval of time between the Only-begotten 
and the Father. What I say, then, is this: that this view of theirs will bring 
us to the conclusion that the Father is not from everlasting, but from a 
definite point in time. I will convey my meaning by familiar illustrations; 
the known shall make the unknown clear. When we say, on the authority 
of the text of Moses, that man was made the fifth day after the heavens, 
we tacitly imply that before those same days the heavens did not exist 
either; a subsequent event goes to define, by means of the interval which 
precedes it, the occurrence also of a previous event. If this example does 
not make our contention plain, we can give others. We say that 'the Law 
given by Moses was four hundred and thirty years later than the Promise 
to Abraham.' If alter traversing, step by step upwards, the anterior time 
we reach this end of that number of years, we firmly grasp as well the fact 
that, before that date, God's Promise was not either. Many such instances 
could be given, but I decline to be minute and wearisome. 

Guided, then, by these examples, let us examine the question before us. 
Our adversaries conceive of the existences of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit 
as involving elder and younger, respectively. Well then; if, at the bidding of 
this heresy, we journey up beyond the generation of the Son, and 
approach that intervening duration which the mere fancy of these 
dogmatists supposes between the Father and the Son, and then reach that 
other and supreme point of time by which they close that duration, there 
we find the life of the Father fixed as it were upon an apex; and thence we 
must necessarily conclude that before it the Father is not to be believed to 
have existed always. 

If you still feel difficulties about this, let us again take an illustration. It 
shall be that of two rulers, one shorter than the other. If we fit the bases of 
the two together we know from the tops the extra length of the one; from 
the end of the lesser lying alongside of it we measure this excess, 
supplementing the deficiency of the shorter ruler by a calculation, and so 
bringing it up to the end of the longer; a cubit for instance, or whatever be 



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the distance of the one end from the other. So, if there is, as our 
adversaries say, an excess of some kind in the Father' s life as compared 
with the Son's, it must needs consist in some definite interval of duration: 
and they will allow that this interval of excess cannot be in the future, for 
that Both are imperishable, even the foes of the truth will grant. No; they 
conceive of this difference as in the past, and instead of equalizing the life 
of the Father and the Son there, they extend the conception of the Father 
by an interval of living. But every interval must be bounded by two ends: 
and so for this interval which they have devised we must grasp the two 
points by which the ends are denoted. The one portion takes its beginning, 
in their view, from the Son's generation; and the other portion must end in 
some other point, from which the interval starts, and by which it limits 
itself. What this is, is for them to tell us; unless, indeed, they are ashamed 
of the consequences of their own assumptions. 

It admits not of a doubt, then, that they will not be able to find at all the 
other portion, corresponding to the first portion of their fancied interval, 
except they were to suppose some beginning of their Ungenerate, whence 
the middle, that connects with the generation of the Son, may be conceived 
of as starting. We affirm, then, that when he makes the Son later than the 
Father by a certain intervening extension of life, he must grant a fixed 
beginning to the Father's existence also, regulated by this same interval of 
his devising; and thus their much- vaunted "Ungeneracy" of the Father will 
be found to be undermined by its own champions' arguments; and they 
will have to confess that their Ungenerate God did once not exist, but 
began from a starting-point: indeed, that which has a beginning of being is 
not inoriginate. But if we must at all risks confess this absence of 
beginning in the Father, let not such exactitude be displayed in fixing for 
the life of the Son a point which, as the term of His existence, must cut 
Him off from the life on the other side of it; let it suffice on the ground of 
causation only to conceive of the Father as before the Son; and let not the 
Father' s life be thought of as a separate and peculiar one before the 
generation of the Son, lest we should have to admit the idea inevitably 
associated with this of an interval before the appearance of the Son which 
measures the life of Him Who begot Him, and then the necessary 
consequence of this, that a beginning of the Father's life also must be 
supposed by virtue of which their fancied interval may be stayed in its 



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upward advance so as to set a limit and a beginning to this previous life of 
the Father as well: let it suffice for us, when we confess the 'coming from 
Him, to admit also, bold as it may seem, the 'living along with Him;' for 
we are led by the written oracles to such a belief. For we have been taught 
by Wisdom to contemplate the brightness s of the everlasting light in, and 
together with, the very everlastingness of that primal light, joining in one 
idea the brightness and its cause, and admitting no priority. Thus shall we 
save the theory of our Faith, the Son's life not failing in the upward view, 
and the Father's everlastingness being not trenched upon by supposing 
any definite beginning for the Son. 

26. It will not do to apply this conception, as drawn out above, of the rather and 

Son to the Creation, as they insist on doing: but we must contemplate the Son 
apart with the Father, and believe that the Creation had its origin from a definite 

point. 

But perhaps some of the opponents of this will say, 'The Creation also 
has an acknowledged beginning; and yet the things in it are not connected 
in thought with the everlastingness of the Father, and it does not check, by 
having a beginning of its own, the infinitude of the divine life, which is the 
monstrous conclusion this discussion has pointed out in the case of the 
Father and the Son. One therefore of two things must follow. Either the 
Creation is everlasting; or, it must be boldly admitted, the Son is later in 
time (than the Father). The conception of an interval in time will lead to 
monstrous conclusions, even when measured from the Creation up to the 
Creator.' 

One who demurs so, perhaps from not attending closely to the meaning of 
our belief, fights against it with alien comparisons which have nothing to 
do with the matter in hand. If he could point to anything above Creation 
which has its origin marked by any interval of time, and it were 
acknowledged possible by all to think of any time-interval as existing 
before Creation, he might have occasion for endeavoring to destroy by 
such attacks that everlastingness of the Son which we have proved above. 
But seeing that by all the suffrages of the faithful it is agreed that, of all 
things that are, part is by creation, and part before creation, and that the 
divine nature is to be believed uncreate (although within it, as our faith 
teaches, there is a cause, and there is a subsistence produced, but without 
separation, from the cause), while the creation is to be viewed in an 



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extension of distances, — all order and sequence of time in events can be 
perceived only in the ages (of this creation), but the nature pre-existent to 
those ages escapes all distinctions of before and after, because reason 
cannot see in that divine and blessed life the things which it observes, and 
that exclusively, in creation. The creation, as we have said, comes into 
existence according to a sequence of order, and is commensurate with the 
duration of the ages, so that if one ascends along the line of things created 
to their beginning, one will bound the search with the foundation of those 
ages. But the world above creation, being removed from all conception of 
distance, eludes all sequence of time: it has no commencement of that sort: 
it has no end in which to cease its advance, according to any discoverable 
method of order. Having traversed the ages and all that has been produced 
therein, our thought catches a glimpse of the divine nature, as of some 
immense ocean, but when the imagination stretches onward to grasp it, it 
gives no sign in its own case of any beginning; so that one who after 
inquiring with curiosity into the 'priority' of the ages tries to mount to the 
source of all things will never be able to make a single calculation on which 
he may stand; that which he seeks will always be moving on before, and 
no basis will be offered him for the curiosity of thought. 

It is clear, even with a moderate insight into the nature of things, that there 
is nothing by which we can measure the divine and blessed Life. It is not in 
time, but time flows from it; whereas the creation, starting from a manifest 
beginning, journeys onward to its proper end through spaces of time; so 
that it is possible, as Solomon somewhere says, to detect in it a beginning, 
an end, and a middle; and mark the sequence of its history by divisions of 
time. But the supreme and blessed life has no time-extension 
accompanying its course, and therefore no span nor measure. Created 
things are confined within the fitting measures, as within a boundary, with 
due regard to the good adjustment of the whole by the pleasure of a wise 
Creator; and so, though human reason in its weakness cannot reach the 
whole way to the contents of creation, yet still we do not doubt that the 
creative power has assigned to all of them their limits and that they do not 
stretch beyond creation. But this creative power itself, while 
circumscribing by itself the growth of things, has itself no circumscribing 
bounds; it buries in itself every effort of thought to mount up to the 
source of God's life, and it eludes the busy and ambitious strivings to get 



140 

to the end of the Infinite. Every discursive effort of thought to go back 
beyond the ages will ascend only so far as to see that that which it seeks 
can never be passed through: time and its contents seem the measure and 
the limit of the movement and the working of human thought, but that 
which lies beyond remains outside its reach; it is a world where it may not 
tread, unsullied by any object that can be comprehended by man. No form, 
no place, no size, no reckoning of time, or anything else knowable, is there: 
and so it is inevitable that our apprehensive faculty, seeking as it does 
always some object to grasp, must fall back from any side of this 
incomprehensible existence, and seek in the ages and in the creation which 
they hold its kindred and congenial sphere. 

All, I say, with any insight, however moderate, into the nature of things, 
know that the world's Creator laid time and space as a background to 
receive what was to be; on this foundation He builds the universe. It is not 
possible that anything which has come or is now coming into being by 
way of creation can be independent of space or time. But the existence 
which is all-sufficient, everlasting, world-enveloping, is not in space, nor in 
time: it is before these, and above these in an ineffable way; self-contained, 
knowable by faith alone; immeasurable by ages; without the 
accompaniment of time; seated and resting in itself, with no associations of 
past or future, there being nothing beside and beyond itself, whose passing 
can make something past and something future. Such accidents are 
confined to the creation, whose life is divided with time's divisions into 
memory and hope. But within that transcendent and blessed Power all 
things are equally present as in an instant: past and future are within its 
all-encircling grasp and its comprehensive view. 

This is the Being in which, to use the words of the Apostle, all things are 
formed; and we, with our individual share in existence, live and move, and 
have our being. It is above beginning, and presents no marks of its inmost 
nature: it is to be known of only in the impossibility of perceiving it. That 
indeed is its most special characteristic, that its nature is too high for any 
distinctive attribute. A very different account to the Uncreate must be 
given of Creation: it is this very thing that takes it out of all comparison 
and connection with its Maker; this difference, I mean, of essence, and this 
admitting a special account explanatory of its nature which has nothing in 
common with that of Him who made it. The Divine nature is a stranger to 



141 

these special marks in the creation: It leaves beneath itself the sections of 
time, the 'before' and the 'after,' and the ideas of space: in fact 'higher' 
cannot properly be said of it at all. Every conception about that uncreate 
Power is a sublime principle, and involves the idea of what is proper in the 
highest degree. 

We have shewn, then, by what we have said that the Only-begotten and 
the Holy Spirit are not to be looked for in the creation but are to be 
believed above it; and that while the creation may perhaps by the 
persevering efforts of ambitious seekers be seized in its own beginning, 
whatever that may be, the supernatural will not the more for that come 
within the realm of knowledge, for no mark before the ages indicative of its 
nature can be found. Well, then, if in this uncreate existence those 
wondrous realities, with their wondrous names of Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, are to be in our thoughts, how can we imagine, of that pre-temporal 
world, that which our busy, restless minds perceive in things here below 
by comparing one of them with another and giving it precedence by an 
interval of time? For there, with the Father, unoriginate, ungenerate, 
always Father, the idea of the Son as coming from Him yet side by side 
with Him is inseparably joined; and through the Son and yet with Him, 
before any vague and unsubstantial conception comes in between, the 
Holy Spirit is found at once in closest union; not subsequent in existence 
to the Son, as if the Son could be thought of as ever having been without 
the Spirit; but Himself also owning the same cause of His being, i.e. the 
God over all, as the Only-begotten Light, and having shone forth in that 
very Light, being divisible neither by duration nor by an alien nature from 
the Father or from the Only-begotten. There are no intervals in that 
pre-temporal world: and difference on the score of being there is none. It is 
not even possible, comparing the uncreate with the uncreated, to see 
differences; and the Holy Ghost is uncreate, as we have before shewn. 

This being the view held by all who accept in its simplicity the undiluted 
Gospel, what occasion was there for endeavoring to dissolve this fast 
union of the Son with the Father by means of the creation, as if it were 
necessary to suppose either that the Son was from everlasting along with 
the creation, or that He too, equally with it, was later? For the generation 
of the Son does not fall within time, any more than the creation was before 
time: so that it can in no kind of way be right to partition the indivisible, 



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and to insert, by declaring that there was a time when the Author of all 
existence was not, this false idea of time into the creative Source of the 
Universe. 

Our previous contention, therefore, is true, that the everlastingness of the 
Son is included, along with the idea of His birth, in the Father' s 
ungeneracy; and that, if any interval were to be imagined dividing the two, 
that same interval would fix a beginning for the life of the Almighty; — a 
monstrous supposition. But there is nothing to prevent the creation, being, 
as it is, in its own nature something other than its Creator and in no point 
trenching on that pure pre-temporal world, from having, in our belief, a 
beginning of its own, as we have said. To say that the heavens and the 
earth and other contents of creation were out of things which are not, or, 
as the Apostle says, out of "things not seen?" inflicts no dishonor upon 
the Maker of this universe; for we know from Scripture that all these 
things are not from everlasting nor will remain for ever. If on the other 
hand it could be believed that there is something in the Holy Trinity which 
does not coexist with the Father, if following out this heresy any thought 
could be entertained of stripping the Almighty of the glory of the Son and 
Holy Ghost, it would end in nothing else than in a God manifestly 
removed from every deed and thought that was good and godlike. But if 
the Father, existing before the ages, is always in glory, and the 
pre-temporal Son is His glory, and if in like manner the Spirit of Christ is 
the Son's glory, always to be contemplated along with the Father and the 
Son, what training could have led this man of learning to declare that there 
is a 'before' in what is timeless, and a 'more honorable' in what is all 
essentially honorable, and preferring, by comparisons, the one to the 
other, to dishonor the latter by this partiality? The term in opposition to 
the more honorable makes it clearer still whither he is tending. 

27. He falsely imagines that the same energies produce the same works, and that 
variation in the works indicates variation in the energies. 

Of the same strain is that which he adds in the next paragraph; "the same 
energies producing sameness of works, and different works indicating 
difference in the energies as well." Finely and irresistibly does this noble 
thinker plead for his doctrine. "The same energies produce sameness of 
works." Let us test this by facts. The energy of fire is always one and the 



143 

same; it consists in heating: but what sort of agreement do its results 
show? Bronze melts in it; mud hardens; wax vanishes: while all other 
animals are destroyed by it, the salamander is preserved alive; tow burns, 
asbestos is washed by the flames as if by water; so much for his 
'sameness of works from one and the same energy.' How too about the 
sun? Is not his power of warming always the same; and yet while he 
causes one plant to grow, he withers another, varying the results of his 
operation in accordance with the latent force of each. 'That on the rock' 
withers; 'that in deep earth' yields an hundredfold. Investigate Nature's 
work, and you will learn, in the case of those bodies which she produces 
artistically, the amount of accuracy there is in his statement that 
'sameness of energy effects sameness of result.' One single operation is 
the cause of conception, but the composition of that which is effected 
internally therein is so varied that it would be difficult for any one even to 
count all the various qualities of the body. Again, imbibing the milk is one 
single operation on the part of the infant, but the results of its being 
nourished so are too complex to be all detailed. While this food passes 
from the channel of the mouth into the secretory ducts, the transforming 
power of Nature forwards it into the several parts proportionately to their 
wants; for by digestion she divides its sum total into the small change of 
multitudinous differences, and into supplies congenial to the subject 
matter with which she deals; so that the same milk goes to feed arteries, 
veins, brain and its membranes, marrow, bones, nerves, sinews, tendons, 
flesh, surface, cartilages, fat, hair, nails, perspiration, vapors, phlegm, bile, 
and besides these, all useless superfluities deriving from the same source. 
You could not name either an organ, whether of motion or sensation, or 
anything else making up the body's bulk, which was not formed (in spite 
of startling differences) from this one and selfsame operation of feeding. If 
one were to compare the mechanic arts too it will be seen what is the 
scientific value of his statement; for there we see in them all the same 
operation, I mean the movement of the hands; but what have the results in 
common? What has building a shrine to do with a coat, though manual 
labor is employed on both? The house-breaker and the well-digger both 
move their hands: the mining of the earth, the murder of a man are results 
of the motion of the hands. The soldier slays the foe, and the husbandman 
wields the fork which breaks the clod, with his hands. How, then, can this 
doctrinaire lay it down that the 'same energies produce sameness of 



144 

work?' But even if we were to grant that this view of his had any truth in 
it, the essential union of the Son with the Father, and of the Holy Spirit 
with the Son, is yet again more fully proved. For if there existed any 
variation in their energies, so that the Son worked His will in a different 
manner to the Father, then (on the above supposition) it would be fair to 
conjecture, from this variation, a variation also in the beings which were 
the result of these varying energies. But if it is true that the manner of the 
Father's working is likewise the manner always of the Son's, both from 
our Lord's own words and from what we should have expected a priori — 
(for the one is not unbodied while the other is embodied, the one is not 
from this material, the other from that, the one does not work his will in 
this time and place, the other in that time and place, nor is there difference 
of organs in them producing difference of result, but the sole movement of 
their wish and of their will is sufficient, seconded in the founding of the 
universe by the power that can create anything) — if, I say, it is true that 
in all respects the Father from Whom are all things, and the Son by Whom 
are all things in the actual form of their operation work alike, then how can 
this man hope to prove the essential difference between the Son and the 
Holy Ghost by any difference and separation between the working of the 
Son and the Father? The very opposite, as we have just seen, is proved to 
be the case; seeing that there is no manner of difference contemplated 
between the working of the Father and that of the Son; and so that there is 
no gulf whatever between the being of the Son and the being of the Spirit, 
is shewn by the identity of the power which gives them their subsistence; 
and our pamphleteer himself confirms this; for these are his words 
verbatim: "the same energies producing sameness of works." If sameness 
of works is really produced by likeness of energies, and if (as they say) 
the Son is the work of the Father and the Spirit the work of the Son, the 
likeness in manner of the Father's and the Son's energies will demonstrate 
the sameness of these beings who each result from them. 

But he adds, "variation in the works indicates variation in the energies." 
How, again, is this dictum of his corroborated by facts? Look, if you 
please, at plain instances. Is not the 'energy' of command, in Him who 
embodied the world and all things therein by His sole will, a single energy? 
"He spake and they were made. He commanded and they were created." 
Was not the thing commanded in every case alike given existence: did not 



145 

His single will suffice to give subsistence to the nonexistent? How, then, 
when such vast differences are seen coming from that one energy of 
command, can this man shut his eyes to realities, and declare that the 
difference of works indicates difference of energies? If our dogmatist 
insists on this, that difference of works implies difference of energies, then 
we should have expected the very contrary to that which is the case; viz., 
that everything in the world should be of one type. Can it be that he does 
see here a universal likeness, and detects unlikeness only between the 
Father and the Son? 

Let him, then, observe, if he never did before, the dissimilarity amongst the 
elements of the world, and how each thing that goes to make up the 
framework of the whole hangs on to its natural opposite. Some objects are 
light and buoyant, others heavy and gravitating; some are always still, 
others always moving; and amongst these last some move unchangingly on 
one plan, as the heaven, for instance, and the planets, whose courses all 
revolve the opposite way to the universe, others are transfused in all 
directions and rush at random, as air and sea for instance, and every 
substance which is naturally penetrating. What need to mention the 
contrasts seen between heat and cold, moist and dry, high and low 
position? As for the numerous dissimilarities amongst animals and plants, 
on the score of figure and size, and all the variations of their products and 
their qualities, the human mind would fail to follow them. 

28. He falsely imagines that we can have an unalterable series of harmonious 
natures existing side by side. 

But this man of science still declares that varied works have energies as 
varied to produce them. Either he knows not yet the nature of the Divine 
energy, as taught by Scripture, — 'All things were made by the word of 
His command,' — or else he is blind to the differences of existing things. 
He utters for our benefit these inconsiderate statements, and lays down 
the law about divine doctrines, as if he had never yet heard that anything 
that is merely asserted, — where no entirely undeniable and plain 
statement is made about the matter in hand, and where the asserter says on 
his own responsibility that which a cannons listener cannot assent to, — 
is no better than a telling of dreams or of stories over wine. Little then as 
this dictum of his fits facts, nevertheless, — like one who is deluded by a 



146 

dream into thinking that he sees one of the objects of his waking efforts, 
and who grasps eagerly at this phantom and with eyes deceived by this 
visionary desire thinks that he holds it, — he with this dreamlike outline 
of doctrines before him imagines that his words possess force, and insists 
upon their truth, and essays by them to prove all the rest. It is worth 
while to give the passage. "These being so, and maintaining an unbroken 
connection in their relation to each other, it seems fitting for those who 
make their investigation according to the order germane to the subject, and 
who do not insist on mixing and confusing all together, in case of a 
discussion being raised about Being, to prove what is in course of 
demonstration, and to settle the points in debate, by the primary energies 
and those attached to the Beings, and again to explain by the Being when 
the energies are in question." I think the actual phrases of his impiety are 
enough to prove how absurd is this teaching. If any one had to give a 
description of the way some disease mars a human countenance, he would 
explain it better by actually unbandaging the patient, and there would be 
then no need of words when the eye had seen how he looked. So some 
mental eye might discern the hideous mutilation wrought by this heresy: 
its mere perusal might remove the veil. But since it is necessary, in order 
to make the latent mischief of this teaching clear to the many, to put the 
finger of demonstration upon it, I will again repeat each word. "This being 
so." What does this dreamer mean? What is 'this?' How has it been 
stated? "The Father's being is alone proper and in the highest degree 
supreme; consequently the next being is dependent, and the third more 
dependent still." In such words he lays down the law. But why? Is it 
because an energy accompanies the first being, of which the effect and 
work, the Only-begotten, is circumscribed by the sphere of this producing 
cause? Or because these Beings are to be thought of as of greater or less 
extent, the smaller included within and surrounded by the larger, like casks 
put one inside the other, inasmuch as he detects degrees of size within 
Beings that are illimitable? Or because differences of products imply 
differences of producers, as if it were impossible that different effects 
should be produced by similar energies? Well, there is no one whose 
mental faculties are so steeped in sleep as to acquiesce directly after 
hearing such statements in the following assertion, "these being so, and 
maintaining an unbroken connection in their relation to one another." It is 
equal madness to say such things, and to hear them without any 



147 

questioning. They are placed in a 'series' and 'an unalterable relation to 
each other,' and yet they are parted from each other by an essential 
unlikeness! Either, as our own doctrine insists, they are united in being, 
and then they really preserve an unalterable relation to each other; or else 
they stand apart in essential unlikeness, as he fancies. But what series, 
what relationship that is unalterable can exist with alien entities? And how 
can they present that 'order germane to the matter' which according to him 
is to rule the investigation? Now if he had an eye only on the doctrine of 
the truth, and if the order in which be counts the differences was only that 
of the attributes which Faith sees in the Holy Trinity, — an order so 
'natural' and 'germane' that the Persons cannot be confounded, being 
divided as Persons, though united in their being — then he would not have 
been classed at all amongst our enemies, for he would mean the very same 
doctrine that we teach. But, as it is, he is looking in the very contrary 
direction, and he makes the order which he fancies there quite 
inconceivable. There is all the difference in the world between the 
accomplishment of an act of the will, and that of a mechanical law of 
nature. Heat is inherent in fire, splendor in the sunbeam, fluidity in water, 
downward tendency in a stone, and so on. But if a man builds a house, or 
seeks an office, or puts to sea with a cargo, or attempts anything else 
which requires forethought and preparation to succeed, we cannot say in 
such a case that there is properly a rank or order inherent in his 
operations: their order in each case will result as an after consequence of 
the motive which guided his choice, or the utility of that which he 
achieves. Well, then; since this heresy parts the Son from any essential 
relationship with the Father, and adopts the same view of the Spirit as 
estranged from any union with the Father or the Son, and since also it 
affirms throughout that the Son is the work of the Father, and the Spirit 
the work of the Son, and that these works are the results of a purpose, not 
of nature, what grounds has he for declaring that this work of a will is an 
'order inherent in the matter,' and what is the drift of this teaching, which 
makes the Almighty the manufacturer of such a nature as this in the Son 
and the Holy Spirit, where transcendent beings are made such as to be 
inferior the one to the other? If such is really his meaning, why did he not 
clearly state the grounds he has for presuming in the case of the Deity, 
that smallness of result will be evidence of all the greater power? But who 
really could ever allow that a cause that is great and powerful is to be 



148 

looked for in this smallness of results? As if God was unable to establish 
His own perfection in anything that comes from Him! And how can he 
attribute to the Deity the highest prerogative of supremacy while he 
exhibits His power as thus falling short of His will? Eunomius certainly 
seems to mean that perfection was not even proposed as the aim of God's 
work, for fear the honor and glory of One to Whom homage is due for His 
superiority might be thereby lessened. And yet is there any one so 
narrow-minded as to reckon the Blessed Deity Himself as not free from 
the passion of envy? What plausible reason, then, is left why the Supreme 
Deity should have constituted such an 'order' in the case of the Son and 
the Spirit? "But I did not mean that 'order' to come from Him," he rejoins. 
But whence else, if the beings to which this 'order' is connatural are not 
essentially related to each other? But perhaps he calls the inferiority itself 
of the being of the Son and of the Spirit this 'connatural order.' But I 
would beg of him to tell me the reason of this very thing, viz., why the 
Son is inferior on the score of being, when both this being and energy are 
to be discovered in the same characteristics and attributes. If on the other 
band there is not to be the same definition of being and energy, and each is 
to signify something different, why does he introduce a demonstration of 
the thing in question by means of that which is quite different from it? It 
would be, in that case, just as if, when it was debated with regard to man's 
own being whether he were a risible animal, or one capable of being taught 
to read, some one was to adduce the building of a house or ship on the part 
of a mason or a shipwright as a settling of the question, insisting on the 
skillful syllogism that we know beings by operations, and a house and a 
ship are operations of man. Do we then learn, most simple sir, by such 
premises, that man is risible as well as broad-nailed? Some one might well 
retort; 'whether man possesses motion and energy was not the question: it 
was, what is the energizing principle itself; and that I fail to learn from 
your way of deciding the question.' Indeed, if we wanted to know 
something about the nature of the wind, you would not give a satisfactory 
answer by pointing to a heap of sand or chaff raised by the wind, or to 
dust which it scattered: for the account to be given of the wind is quite 
different: and these illustrations of yours would be foreign to the subject. 
What ground, then, has he for attempting to explain beings by their 
energies, and making the definition of an entity out of the resultants of that 
entity. 



149 

Let us observe, too, what sort of work of the Father it is by which the 
Father' s being, according to him, is to be comprehended. The Son most 
certainly, he will say, if he says as usual. But this Son of yours, most 
learned sir, is commensurate in your scheme only with the energy which 
produced Him, and indicates that alone, while the Object of our search still 
keeps in the dark, if, as you yourself confess, this energy is only one 
amongst the things which 'follow' the first being. This energy, as you say, 
extends itself into the work which it produces, but it does not reveal 
therein even its own nature, but only so much of it as we can get a glimpse 
of in that work. All the resources of a smith are not set in motion to make 
a gimlet; the skill of that artisan only operates so far as is adequate to form 
that tool, though it could fashion a large variety of other tools. Thus the 
limit of the energy is to be found in the work which it produces. But the 
question now is not about the amount of the energy, but about the being of 
that which has put forth the energy. In the same way, if he asserts that he 
can perceive the nature of the Only-begotten in the Spirit (Whom he styles 
the work of an energy which 'follows' the Son), his assertion has no 
foundation; for here again the energy, while it extends itself into its work, 
does not reveal therein the nature either of itself or of the agent who exerts 
it. 

But let us yield in this; grant him that beings are known in their energies. 
The First being is known through His work; and this Second being is 
revealed in the work proceeding from Him. But what, my learned friend, is 
to show this Third being? No such work of this Third is to be found. If 
you insist that these beings are perceived by their energies, you must 
confess that the Spirit's nature is imperceptible; you cannot infer His 
nature from any energy put forth by Him to carry on the continuity. Show 
some substantiated work of the Spirit, through which you think you have 
detected the being of the Spirit, or all your cobweb will collapse at the 
touch of Reason. If the being is known by the subsequent energy, and 
substantiated energy of the Spirit there is none, such as ye say the Father 
shows in the Son, and the Son in the Spirit, then the nature of the Spirit 
must be confessed unknowable and not be apprehended through these; 
there is no energy conceived of in connection with a substance to show 
even a side glimpse of it. But if the Spirit eludes apprehension, how by 
means of that which is itself imperceptible can the more exalted being be 



150 

perceived? If the Son's work, that is, the Spirit according to them, is 
unknowable, the Son Himself can never be known; He will be involved in 
the obscurity of that which gives evidence of Him: and if the being of the 
Son in this way is hidden, how can the being who is most properly such 
and most supreme be brought to light by means of the being which is itself 
hidden; this obscurity of the Spirit is transmitted by retrogression through 
the Son to the Father; so that in this view, even by our adversaries' 
confession, the unknowableness of the Father' s being is clearly 
demonstrated. How, then, can this man, be his eye ever so 'keen to see 
unsubstantial entities,' discern the nature of the unseen and 
incomprehensible by means of itself; and how can he command us to grasp 
the beings by means' of their works, and their works again from them? 

29. He vainly this that the doubt about the energies is to be sowed by the beings, 

and reversely. 

Now let us see what comes next. 'The doubt about the energies is to be 
solved by the beings.' What way is there of bringing this man out of his 
vain fancies down to common sense? If he thinks that it is possible thus to 
solve doubts about the energies by comprehending the beings themselves, 
how, if these last are not comprehended, can he change this doubt to any 
certainty? If the being has been comprehended, what need to make the 
energy of this importance, as if it was going to lead us to the 
comprehension of the being. But if this is the very thing that makes an 
examination of the energy necessary, viz., that we may be thereby guided 
to the understanding of the befog that exerts it, how can this as yet 
unknown nature solve the doubt about the energy? The proof of anything 
that is doubted must be made by means of well-known truths; but when 
there is an equal uncertainty about both the objects of our search, how can 
Eunomius say that they are comprehended by means of each other, both 
being in themselves beyond our knowledge? When the Father's being is 
under discussion, he tells us that the question may be settled by means of 
the energy which follows Him and of the work which this energy 
accomplishes; but when the inquiry is about the being of tile 
Only-begotten, whether Eunomius calls Him an energy or a product of the 
energy (for he does both), then he tells us that the question may be easily 
solved by looking at the being of His producer! 

30. There is no Word of God that commands such investigations: 



151 
the uselessness of the philosophy which makes them is thereby proved. 

I should like also to ask him this. Does he mean that energies are explained 
by the beings which produced them only in the case of the Divine Nature, 
or does he recognize the nature of the produced by means of the being of 
the producer with regard to anything whatever that possesses an effective 
force? If in the case of the Divine Nature only he holds this view, let him 
show us how he settles questions about the works of God by means of the 
nature of the Worker. Take an undoubted work of God, — the sky, the 
earth, the sea, the whole universe. Let it be the being of one of these that, 
according to our supposition, is being enquired into, and let 'sky' be the 
subject fixed for our speculative reasoning. It is a question what the 
substance of the sky is; opinions have been broached about it varying 
widely according to the lights of each natural philosopher. How will the 
contemplation of the Maker of the sky procure a solution of the question, 
immaterial, invisible, formless, ungenerate, everlasting, incapable of decay 
and change and alteration, and all such things, as He is. How will anyone 
who entertains this conception of the Worker be led on to the knowledge 
of the nature of the sky? How will he get an idea of a thing which is visible 
from the Invisible, of the perishable from the imperishable, of that which 
has a date for its existence from that which never had any generation, of 
that which has duration but for a time from the everlasting; in fact, of the 
object of his search from everything which is the very opposite to it. Let 
this man who has accurately probed the secret of things tell us how it is 
possible that two unlike things should be known from each other. 

31. The observations made by watching Providence are sufficient 
to give us the knowledge of sameness of Being. 

And yet, if he could see the consequences of his own statements, he would 
be led on by them to acquiesce in the doctrine of the Church. For if the 
maker's nature is an indication of the thing made, as he affirms, and if, 
according to his school, the Son is something made by the Father, anyone 
who has observed the Father's nature would have certainly known thereby 
that of the Son; if, I say, it is true that the worker's nature is a sign of that 
which he works. But the Only-begotten, as they say, of the Father's 
unlikeness, will be excluded from operating through Providence. Eunomius 
need not trouble any more about His being generated, nor force out of that 



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another proof of the son' s unlikeness. The difference of purpose will itself 
be sufficient to bring to light His alien nature. For the First Being is, even 
by our opponents' confession, one and single, and necessarily His will 
must be thought of as following the bent of His nature; but Providence 
shows that purpose is good, and so the nature from which that purpose 
comes is shown to be good also. So the Father alone works good; and the 
Son does not purpose the same things as He, if we adopt the assumptions 
of our adversary; the difference then, of their nature will be clearly attested 
by this variation of their purposes. But if, while the Father is provident 
for the Universe, the Son is equally provident for it (for 'what He sees the 
Father doing that also the Son does'), this sameness of their purposes 
exhibits a communion of nature in those who thus purpose the same 
things. Why, then, is all mention of Providence omitted by him, as if it 
would not help us at all to that which we are searching for. Yet many 
familiar examples make for our view of it. Anyone who has gazed on the 
brightness of fire and experienced its power of warming, when he 
approaches another such brightness and another such warmth, will 
assuredly be led on to think of fire; for his senses through the medium of 
these similar phenomena will conduct him to the fact of a kindred element 
producing both; anything that was not fire could not work on all occasions 
like fire. Just so, when we perceive a similar and equal amount of 
providential power in the Father and in the Son, we make a guess by 
means of what thus comes within the range of our knowledge about things 
which transcend our comprehension; we feel that causes of an alien nature 
cannot be detected in these equal and similar effects. As the observed 
phenomena are to each other, so will the subjects of those phenomena be: 
if the first are opposed to each other, we must reckon the revealed entities 
to be so too; if the first are alike, so too must those others be. Our Lord 
said allegorically that their fruit is the sign of the characters of trees, 
meaning that it does not belie that character, that the bad is not attached to 
the good tree, nor the good to the bad tree; — "by their fruits ye shall 
know them;" — so when the fruit, Providence, presents no difference, we 
detect a single nature from which that fruit has sprung, even though the 
trees be different from which the fruit is put forth. Through that, then, 
which is cognizable by our apprehension, viz., tile scheme or Providence 
visible in the Son in the same way as in the Father, the common likeness of 



153 

the Only-begotten and the Father is placed beyond a doubt; and it is the 
identity of the fruits of Providence by which we know it. 

32. His dictum that 'the manner of the likeness must follow the manner of the 
generation' is unintelligible. 

But to prevent such a thought being entertained, and pretending to be 
forced somehow away from it, he says that he withdraws from all these 
results of Providence, and goes back to the manner of the Son' s generation, 
because "the manner of His likeness must follow the manner of His 
generation." What an irresistible proof! How forcibly does this verbiage 
compel assent! What skill and precision there is in the wording of this 
assertion! Then, if we know the manner of the generation, we shall know 
by that the manner of the likeness. Well, then; seeing that all, or at all 
events most, animals born by parturition have the same manner of 
generation, and, according to their logic, the manner of likeness follows this 
manner of generation, these animals, following as they do the same model 
in their production, will resemble entirely those similarly generated; for 
things that are like the same thing are like one another. If, then, according 
to the view of this heresy, the manner of the generation makes every thing 
generated just like itself, and it is a fact that this manner does not vary at 
all in diversified kinds of animals but remains the same in the greatest part 
of them, we shall find that this sweeping and unqualified assertion of his 
establishes, by virtue of this similarity of birth, a mutual resemblance 
between men, dogs, camels, mice, elephants, leopards, and every other 
animal which Nature produces in the same manner. Or does he mean, not, 
that things brought into the world in a similar way are all like each other, 
but that each one of them is like that being only which is the source of its 
life. But if so, he ought to have declared that the child is like the parent, 
not that the "manner of the likeness" resembles the "manner of the 
generation." But this, which is so probable in itself, and is observed as a 
fact in Nature, that the begotten resembles the begetter, he will not admit 
as a truth; it would reduce his whole argumentation to a proof of the 
contrary of what he intended. If he allowed the offspring to be like the 
parent, his labored store of arguments to prove the unlikeness of the 
Beings would be refuted as evanescent and groundless. 



154 

So he says "the manner of the likeness follows the manner of the 
generation." This, when tested by the exact critic of the meaning of any 
idea, will be found completely unintelligible. It is plainly impossible to say 
what a "manner of generation" can mean. Does it mean the figure of the 
parent, or his impulse, or his disposition; or the time, or the place, or the 
completing of the embryo by conception; or the generative receptacles; or 
nothing of that kind, but something else of the things observed in ' 
generation.' It is impossible to find out what he means. The impropriety 
and vagueness of the word "manner" causes perplexity as to its 
signification here; every possible one is equally open to our surmises, and 
presents as well an equal want of connection with the subject before us. So 
also with this phrase of his "manner of likeness;" it is devoid of any 
vestige of meaning, if we fix our attention on the examples familiarly 
known to us. For the thing generated is not to be likened there to the kind 
or the manner of its birth. Birth consists, in the case of animal birth, in a 
separation of body from body, in which the animal perfectly molded in the 
womb is brought forth; but the thing born is a man, or horse, or cow, or 
whatever it may chance to be in its existence through birth. How, 
therefore, the "manner of the likeness of the offspring follows the manner 
of its generation" must be left to him, or to some pupil of his in, 
midwifery, to explain. Birth is one thing: the thing born is another: they 
are different ideas altogether. No one with any sense would deny that 
what he says is perfectly untrue in the case of animal births. But if he calls 
the actual making and the actual fashioning a "manner of the generation," 
which the "manner of the likeness" of the thing produced is to "follow," 
even so his statement is removed from all likelihood, as we shall see from 
some illustrations. Iron is hammered out by the blows of the artificer into 
some useful instrument. How, then, the outline of its edge, if such there 
happen to be, can be said to be similar to the laud of the worker, or to the 
manner of its fashioning, to the hammers, for instance, and the coals and 
the bellows and the anvil by means of which he has molded it, no one 
could explain. And what can be said in one case fits all, where there is any 
operation producing a result; the thing produced cannot be said to be like 
the "manner of its generation." What has the shape of a garment got to do 
with the spool, or the rods, or the comb, or with the form of the weaver's 
instruments at all? What has an actual seat got to do with the working of 
the blocks; or any finished production with the build of him who achieved 



155 

it? — But I think even our opponents would allow that this rule of his is 
not in force in sensible and material instances. 

It remains to see whether it contributes anything further to the proof of 
his blasphemy. What, then, was he aiming at? The necessity of believing in 
accordance with their being in the likeness or unlikeness of the Son to the 
Father; and, as we cannot know about this being from considerations of 
Providence, the necessity of having recourse to the "manner of the 
generation," whereby we may know, not indeed whether the Begotten is 
like the Begetter (absolutely), but only a certain "manner of likeness" 
between them; and as this manner is a secret to the many, the necessity of 
going at some length into the being of the Begetter. Then has he forgotten 
his own definitions about the beings having to be known from their works? 
But this begotten being, which he calls the work of the supreme being, has 
as yet no light thrown upon it (according to him); so how can its nature be 
dealt with? And how can he "mount above this lower and therefore more 
directly comprehensible thing," and so cling to the absolute and supreme 
being? Again, he always throughout his discourse lays claim to an accurate 
knowledge of the divine utterances; yet here he pays them scant reverence, 
ignoring the fact that it is not possible to approach to a knowledge of the 
Father except through the Son. "No man knoweth the Father, save the 
Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him." Yet Eunomius, 
while on every occasion, where he can insult our devout and God-adoring 
conceptions of the Son, he asserts in plain words the Son's inferiority, 
establishes His superiority unconsciously in this device of his for knowing 
the Deity; for he assumes that the Father's being lends itself the more 
readily to our comprehension, and then attempts to trace and argue out the 
Son's nature from that. 

33. He declares falsely that 'the manner of the generation is to be known from the 
intrinsic worth of the generator.' 

He goes back, for instance, to the begetting being, and from thence takes a 
survey of the begotten; "for," says he, "the manner of the generation is to 
be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator." Again, we find this 
bold unqualified generalization of his causing the thought of the inquirer to 
be dissipated in every possible direction; it is the nature of such general 
statements, to extend in their meanings to every instance, and allow 
nothing to escape their sweeping assertion. If then ' the manner of the 



156 

generation is to be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator,' and 
there are many differences in the worth of generators according to their 
many classifications to be found (for one may be born Jew, Greek, 
barbarian, Scythian, bond, free), what will be the result? Why, that we 
must expect to find as many "manners of generation" as there are 
differences in intrinsic worth amongst the generators; and that their birth 
will not be fulfilled with all in the same way, but that their nature will vary 
with the worth of the parent, and that some peculiar manner of birth will 
be struck out for each, according to these varying estimations. For a certain 
inalienable worth is to be observed in the individual parent; the distinction, 
that is, of being better or worse off according as there has fallen to each 
race, estimation, religion, nationality, power, servitude, wealth, poverty, 
independence, dependence, or whatever else constitutes the life-long 
differences of worth. If then "the manner of the generation" is shown by 
the intrinsic worth of the parent, and there are many differences in worth, 
we shall inevitably find, if we follow this opinion-monger, that the 
manners of generation are various too; in fact, this difference of worth will 
dictate to Nature the manner of the birth. 

But if he should not admit that such worth is natural, because they can be 
put in thought outside the nature of their subject, we will not oppose him. 
But at all events he will agree to this; that man's existence is separated by 
an intrinsic character from that of brutes. Yet the manner of birth in these 
two cases presents no variation in intrinsic character; nature brings man 
and the brute into the world in just the same way, i.e. by generation. But if 
he apprehends this native dignity only in the case of the most proper and 
supreme existence, let us see what he means then. In our view, the 'native 
dignity' of God consists in godhead itself, wisdom, power, goodness, 
judgment, justice, strength, mercy, truth, creativeness, domination, 
invisibility, everlastingness, and every other quality named in the inspired 
writings to magnify his glory; and we affirm that every one of them is 
properly and inalienably found in the Son, recognizing difference only in 
respect of unoriginateness; and even that we do not exclude the Son from, 
according to all its meanings. But let no carping critic attack this statement 
as if we were attempting to exhibit the Very Son as ungenerate; for we 
hold that one who maintains that is no less impious than an Anomoean. 
But since the meanings of 'origin ' are various, and suggest many ideas, 



157 

there are some of them in which the title 'unoriginate' is not inapplicable 
to the Son. When, for instance, this word has the meaning of 'deriving 
existence from no cause whatever,' then we confess that it is peculiar to 
the Father; but when the question is about 'origin' in its other meanings 
(since any creature or time or order has an origin), then we attribute the 
being superior to origin to the Son as well, and we believe that whereby all 
things were made is beyond the origin of creation, and the idea of time, and 
the sequence of order. So He, Who on the ground of His subsistence is not 
without an origin, possessed in every other view an undoubted 
unoriginateness; and while the Father is unoriginate and Ungenerate, the 
Son is unoriginate in the way we have said, though not ungenerate. 

What, then, is that native dignity of the Father which he is going to look at 
in order to infer thereby the 'manner of the generation.' "His not being 
generated, most certainly," he will reply. If, then, all those names with 
which we have learnt to magnify God's glory are useless and meaningless 
to you, Eunomius, the mere going through the list of such expressions is a 
gratuitous and superfluous task; none of these other words, you say, 
expresses the intrinsic worth of the God over all. But if there is a peculiar 
force fitting our conceptions of the Deity in each of these words, the 
intrinsic dignities of God must plainly be viewed in connection with this 
list, and the likeness of the two beings will be thereby proved; if, that is, 
the characters inalienable from the beings are an index of the subjects of 
those characters. The characters of each being are found to be the same; 
and so the identity on the score of being of the two subjects of these 
identical dignities is shown most clearly. For if the variation in a single 
name is to be held to be the index of an alien being, how much more should 
the identity of these countless names avail to prove community of nature! 

What, then, is the reason why the other names should all be neglected, and 
generation be indicated by the means of one alone? Why do they 
pronounce this 'Ungeneracy' to be the only intrinsic character in the 
Father, and thrust all the rest aside? It is in order that they may establish 
their mischievous mode of unlikeness of Father and Son, by this contrast 
as regards the begotten. But we shall find that this attempt of theirs, when 
we come to test it in its proper place, is equally feeble, unfounded, and 
nugatory as the preceding attempts. 



158 

Still, that all his reasonings point this way, is shown by the sequel, in 
which he praises himself for having fittingly adopted this method for the 
proof of his blasphemy, and yet for not having all at once divulged his 
intention, nor shocked the unprepared hearer with his impiety, before the 
concatenation of his delusive argument was complete, nor displayed this 
Ungeneracy as God's being in the early part of his discourse, nor to weary 
us with; talk about the difference of being. The following are his exact 
words: "Or was it right, as Basil commands, to begin with the thing to be 
proved, and to assert incoherently that the Ungeneracy is the being, and to 
talk about the difference or the sameness of nature?" Upon this he has a 
long intervening tirade, made up of scoffs and insulting abuse (such being 
the weapons which this thinker uses to defend his own doctrines), and 
then he resumes the argument, and turning upon his adversary, fixes upon 
him, forsooth, the blame of what he is saying, in these words; "For your 
party, before any others, are guilty of this offense; having partitioned out 
this same being between Begetter and Begotten; and so the scolding you 
have given is only a halter not to be eluded which you have woven for 
your own necks; justice, as might have been expected, records in your own 
words a verdict against yourselves. Either you first conceive of the beings 
as sundered, and independent of each other; and then bring down one of 
them, by generation, to the rank of Son, and contend that One who exists 
independently nevertheless was made by means of the Other existence; 
and so lay yourselves open to your own reproaches: for to Him whom 
you imagine as without generation you ascribe a generation by another: — 
or else you first allow one single causeless being, and then marking this out 
by an act of causation into Father and Son, you declare that this 
non-generated being came into existence by means of itself." 

34. The Passage where he attacks the 'Ou.oo\)Glov, 
and the contention in answer to it. 

I will omit to speak of the words which occur before this passage which 
has been quoted. They contain merely shameless abuse of our Master and 
Father in God, and nothing bearing on the matter in hand. But on the 
passage itself, as he advances by the device of this terrible dilemma a 
double-edged refutation, we cannot be silent; we must accept the 
intellectual challenge, and fight for the Faith with all the power we have, 



159 

and show that the formidable two-edged sword which he has sharpened is 
feebler than a make-believe in a scene-painting. 

He attacks the community of substance with two suppositions; he says 
that we either name as Father and as Son two independent principles 
drawn out parallel to each other, and then say that one of these existencies 
is produced by the other existence: or else we say that one and the same 
essence is conceived of, participating in both names in turn, both being 
Father, and becoming Son, and itself produced in generation from itself. I 
put this in my own words, thereby not misinterpreting his thought, but 
only correcting the tumid exaggeration of its expression, in such a way as 
to reveal his meaning by clearer words and afford a comprehensive view of 
it. Having blamed us for want of polish and for having brought to the 
controversy an insufficient amount of learning, he decks out his own work 
in such a glitter of style, and passes the nail to use his own phrase, so 
often over his own sentences, and makes his periods so smart with this 
elaborate prettiness, that he captivates the reader at once with the 
attractions of language; such amongst many others is the passage we have 
just recited by way of preface. We will, by leave, again recite it. "And so 
the scolding you have given is only a halter, not to be eluded, which you 
have woven for your own necks; justice, as might have been expected, 
records in your own words a verdict against yourselves." 

Observe these flowers of the old Attic; what polished brilliance of diction 
plays over his composition; what a delicate and subtle charm of style is in 
bloom there! However, let this be as people think. Our course requires us 
again to turn to the thought in those words; let us plunge once more into 
the phrases of this pamphleteer. "Either you conceive of the beings as 
separated and independent of each other, and then bring down one of 
them, by generation, to the rank of Son, and contend that One who exists 
independently nevertheless was made by means of the Other existence." 
That is enough for the present. He says, then, that we preach two 
causeless Beings. How can this man, who is always accusing us of leveling 
and confusing, assert this from our believing, as we do, in a single 
substance of Both. If two natures, alien to each other on the score of their 
being, were preached by our Faith, just as it is preached by the Anomoean 
school, then there would be good reason for thinking that this distinction 
of natures led to the supposition of two causeless beings. But if, as is the 



160 

case, we acknowledge one nature with the differences of Person, if, while 
the Father is believed in, the Son also is glorified, how can such a Faith be 
misrepresented by our opponents as preaching Two First Causes? Then 
he says, 'of these two causes, one is lowered' by us 'to the rank of Son.' 
Let him point out one champion of such a doctrine; whether he can convict 
any single person of talking like this, or only knows of such a doctrine as 
taught anywhere at all in the Church, we will hold our peace. For who is 
so wild in his reasonings, and so bereft of reflection as, after speaking of 
Father and Son, to imagine in spite of that two ungenerate beings: and then 
again to suppose that the One of them has come into being by means of 
the Other? Besides, what logical necessity does he show for pushing our 
teaching towards such suppositions? By what arguments does he show 
that such an absurdity must result from it? If indeed he adduced one single 
article of our Faith, and then, whether as a quibble or with a real force of 
demonstration, made this criticism upon it, there might have been some 
reason for his doing so with a view to in validate that article. But when 
there is not, and never can be such a doctrine in the Church, when neither a 
teacher of it nor a hearer of it is to be found, and the absurdity cannot be 
shown, either, to be the strict logical consequence of anything, I cannot 
understand the meaning of his fighting thus with shadows. It is just as if 
some frenzy-struck person supposed himself to be grappling with an 
imaginary combatant, and then, having with great efforts thrown himself 
down, thought that it was his foe who was lying there; our clever 
pamphleteer is in the same state; he feigns suppositions which we know 
nothing about, and he fights with the shadows which are sketched by the 
workings of his own brain. 

For I challenge him to say why a believer in the Son as having come into 
being from the Father must advance to the opinion that there are two First 
Causes; and let him tell us who is most guilty of this establishment of two 
First Causes; one who asserts that the Son is falsely so named, or one who 
insists that, when we call Him that, the name represents a reality? The 
first, rejecting a real generation of the Son, and affirming simply that He 
exists, would be more open to the suspicion of making Him a First Cause, 
if he exists indeed, but not by generation: whereas the second, making the 
representative sign of the Person of the Only-begotten to consist in 
subsisting generatively from the Father, cannot by any possibility be 



161 

drawn into the error of supposing the Son to be Ungenerate. And yet as 
long as, according to you thinkers, the non-generation of the Son by the 
Father is to be held, the Son Himself will be properly called Ungenerate in 
one of the many meanings of the Ungenerate; seeing that, as some things 
come into existence by being born and others by being fashioned, nothing 
prevents our calling one of the latter, which does not subsist by 
generation, an Ungenerate, looking only to the idea of generation; and this 
your account, defining, as it does, our Lord to be a creature, does establish 
about Him. So, my very learned sirs, it is in your view, not ours, when it 
is thus followed out, that the Only-begotten can be named Ungenerate: and 
you will find that "justice," — whatever you mean by that, — records in 
your own words a verdict against us. 

It is easy also to find mud in his words after that to cast upon this 
execrable teaching. For the other horn of his dilemma partakes in the same 
mental delusion; he says, "or else you first allow one single causeless 
being, and then marking this out by an act of generation into Father and 
Son, you declare that this non-generated being came into existence by 
means of itself." What is this new and marvelous story? How is one 
begotten by oneself, having oneself for father, and becoming one's own 
son? What dizziness and delusion is here? It is like supposing the roof to 
be turning down below one's feet, and the floor above one's head; it is like 
the mental state of one with his senses stupefied with drink, who shouts 
out persistently that the ground does not stand still beneath, and that the 
walls are disappearing, and that everything he sees is whirling round and 
will not keep still. Perhaps our pamphleteer had such a tumult in his soul 
when he wrote; if so, we must pity him rather than abhor him. For who is 
so out of hearing of our divine doctrine, who is so far from the mysteries 
of the Church, as to accept such a view as this to the detriment of the 
Faith. Rather, it is hardly enough to say, that no one ever dreamed of such 
an absurdity to its detriment. Why, in the case of human nature, or any 
other entity falling within the grasp of the senses who, when he hears of a 
community of substance, dreams either that all things that are compared 
together on the ground of substance are without a cause or beginning, or 
that something comes into existence out of itself, at once producing and 
being produced by itself? 



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The first man, and the man born from him, received their being in a 
different way; the latter by copulation, the former from the molding of 
Christ Himself; and yet, though they are thus believed to be two, they are 
inseparable in the definition of their being, and are not considered as two 
beings, without beginning or cause, running parallel to each other; nor can 
the existing one be said to be generated by the existing one, or the two be 
ever thought of as one in the monstrous sense that each is his own father, 
and his own son; but it is because the one and the other was a man that the 
two have the same definition of being; each was mortal, reasoning, capable 
of intuition and of science. If, then, the idea of humanity in Adam and 
Abel does not vary with the difference of their origin, neither the order nor 
the manner of their coming into existence making any difference in their 
nature, which is the same in both, according to the testimony of everyone 
in his senses, and no one, not greatly needing treatment for insanity, would 
deny it; what necessity is there that against the divine nature we should 
admit this strange thought? Having heard of Father and Son from the 
Truth, we are taught in those two subjects the oneness of their nature; 
their natural relation to each other expressed by those names indicates that 
nature; and so do Our Lord's own words. For when He said, "I and My 
Father are one," He conveys by that confession of a Father exactly the 
truth that He Himself is not a first cause, at the same time that He asserts 
by His union with the Father their common nature; so that these words of 
His secure our faith from the taint of heretical error on either side: for 
Sabellius has no ground for his confusion of the individuality of each 
Person, when the Only-begotten has so distinctly marked Himself off 
from the Father in those words, "I and My Father;" and Arius finds no 
confirmation of his doctrine of the strangeness of either nature to the 
other, since this oneness of both cannot admit distinction in nature. For 
that which is signified in these words by the oneness of Father and Son is 
nothing else but what belongs to them on the score of their actual being; all 
the other moral excellences which are to be observed in them as over and 
above their nature may without error be set down as shared in by all 
created beings. For instance, Our Lord is called merciful and pitiful by the 
prophet, and He wills us to be and to be called the same;. "Be ye therefore 
merciful," and "Blessed are the merciful," and many such passages. If, 
then, any one by diligence and attention has modeled himself according to 
the divine will, and become kind and pitiful and compassionate, or meek 



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and lowly of heart, such as many of the saints are testified to have become 
in the pursuit of such excellences, does it follow that they are therefore 
one with God, or united to Him by virtue of any one of them? Not so. 
That which is not in every respect the same, cannot be ' one' with him 
whose nature thus varies from it. Accordingly, a man becomes ' one' with 
another, when in will, as our Lord says, they are 'perfected into ones,' this 
union of wills being added to the connection of nature. So also the Father 
and Son are one, the community of nature and the community of will 
running, in them, into one. But if the Son had been joined in wish only to 
the Father, and divided from Him in His nature, how is it that we find Him 
testifying to His oneness with the Father, when all the time He was 
sundered from Him in the point most proper to Him of all? 

35. Proof that the Anomoean teaching lends to Manichoeism. 

We hear our Lord saying. "I and My Father are one," and we are taught in 
that utterance the dependence of our Lord on a cause, and yet the absolute 
identity of the Son's and the Father's nature; we do not let our idea about 
them be melted down into One Person, but we keep distinct the properties 
of the Persons, while, on the other hand, not dividing in the Persons the 
oneness of their substance; and so the supposition of two diverse 
principles in the category of Cause is avoided, and there is no loophole for 
the Manichaean heresy to enter. For the created and the uncreate are as 
diametrically opposed to each other as their names are; and so if the two 
are to be ranked as First Causes, the mischief of Manichaeism will thus 
under cover be brought into the Church. I say this, because my zeal against 
our antagonists makes me scrutinize their doctrine very closely. Now I 
think that none would deny that we were bringing this scrutiny very near 
the truth, when we said, that if the created be possessed of equal power 
with the uncreate, there will be some sort of antagonism between these 
things of diverse nature, and as long as neither of them fails in power, the 
two will be brought into a certain state of mutual discord for we must 
perforce allow that will corresponds with, and is intimately joined to 
nature; and that if two things are unlike in nature, they will be so also in 
will. But when power is adequate in both, neither will flag in the 
gratification of its wish; and if the power of each is thus equal to its wish, 
the primacy will become a doubtful point with the two: and it will end in a 
drawn battle from the inexhaustibleness of their powers. Thus will the 



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Manichaean heresy creep in, two opposite principles appearing with 
counter claims in the category of Cause, parted and opposed by reason of 
difference both in nature and in will. They will find, therefore, that 
assertion of diminution (in the Divine being) is the beginning of 
Manichaeism; for their teaching organizes a discord within that being, 
which comes to two leading principles, as our account of it has shewn; 
namely the created and the uncreated. 

But perhaps most will blame this as too strong a reductio ad absurdum, 
and will wish that we had not put it down at all along with our other 
objections. Be it so; we will not contradict them. It was not our impulse, 
but our adversaries themselves, that forced us to carry our argument into 
such minuteness of results. But if it is not right to argue thus, it was more 
fitting still that our opponents' teaching, which gave occasion to such a 
refutation, should never have been heard. There is only one way of 
suppressing the answer to bad teaching, and that is, to take away the 
subject-matter to which a reply has to be made. But what would give me 
most pleasure would be to advise those, who are thus disposed, to divest 
themselves a little of the spirit of rivalry, and not be such exceedingly 
zealous combatants on behalf of the private opinions with which they 
have become possessed, and convinced that the race is for their (spiritual) 
life, to attend to its interests only, and to yield the victory to Truth. If, 
then, one were to cease from this ambitious strife, and look straight into 
the actual question before us, he would very soon discover the flagrant 
absurdity of this teaching. 

For let us assume as granted what the system of our opponents demands, 
that the having no generation is Being, and in like manner again that 
generation is admitted into Being. If, then, one were to follow out carefully 
these statements in all their meaning, even this way the Manichaean 
heresy will be reconstructed seeing that the Manichees are wont to take as 
an axiom the oppositions of good and bad, light and darkness, and all such 
naturally antagonistic things. I think that any who will not be satisfied 
with a superficial view of the matter will be convinced that I say true. Let 
us look at it thus. Every subject has certain inherent characteristics, by 
means of which the specialty of that underlying nature is known. This is 
so, whether we are investigating the animal kingdom, or any other. The 
tree and the animal are not known by the same marks; nor do the 



165 

characteristics of man extend in the animal kingdom to the brutes; nor, 
again, do the same symptoms indicate life and death; in every case, 
without exception, as we have said, the distinction of subjects resists any 
effort to confuse them and run one into another; the marks upon each thing 
which we observe cannot be communicated so as to destroy that 
distinction. Let us follow this out in examining our opponents' position. 
They say that the state of having no generation is Being; and they likewise 
make the having generation Being. But just as a man and a stone have not 
the same marks in defining the essence of the animate and that of the 
inanimate you would not give the same account of each), so they must 
certainly grant that one who is non-generated is to be known by different 
signs to the generated. Let us then survey those peculiar qualities of the 
non-generated Deity, which the Holy Scriptures teach us can be mentioned 
and thought of, without doing Him an irreverence. 

What are they? I think no Christian is ignorant that He is good, kind, holy, 
just and hallowed, unseen and immortal, incapable of decay and change and 
alteration, powerful, wise, beneficent, Master, Judge, and everything like 
that. Why lengthen our discussion by lingering on acknowledged facts? If, 
then, we find these qualities in the ungenerate nature, and the state of 
having been generated is contrary' in its very conception to the state of 
having not been generated, those who define these two states to be each of 
them Being, must perforce concede, that the characteristic marks of the 
generated being, following this opposition existing between the generated 
and non-generated, must be contrary to the marks observable in the 
non-generated being; for if they were to declare the marks to be the same, 
this sameness would destroy the difference between the two beings who 
are the subject of these observations. Differing things must be regarded as 
possessing differing marks; like things are to be known by like signs. If, 
then, these men testify to the same marks in the Only-begotten, they can 
conceive of no difference whatever in the subject of the marks. But if they 
persist in their blasphemous position, and maintain in asserting the 
difference of the generated and the non-generated the variation of the 
natures, it is readily seen what must result: viz., that, as in following out 
the opposition of the names, the nature of the things which those names 
indicate must be considered to be in a state of contrariety to itself, there is 
every necessity that the qualities observed in each should be drawn out 



166 

opposite each other; so that those qualities should be applied to the Son 
which are the reverse of those predicated of the Father, viz., of divinity, 
holiness, goodness, imperishability, eternity, and of every other quality 
that represents God to the devout mind; in fact, every negation of these, 
every conception that ranks opposite to the good, must he considered as 
belonging to the generated nature. 

To ensure clearness, we must dwell upon this point. As the peculiar 
phenomena of heat and cold — which are themselves by nature opposed 
to each other (let us take fire and ice as examples of each), each being that 
which the other is not — are at variance with each other, cooling being the 
peculiarity of ice, heating of fire; so if in accordance with the antithesis 
expressed by the names, the nature revealed by those names is parted 
asunder, it is not to be admitted that the faculties attending these natural 
"subcontraries" are like each other, any more than cooling can belong to 
fire, or burning to ice. If, then, goodness is inseparable from the idea of the 
non-generated nature, and that nature is parted on the ground of being, as 
they declare, from the generated nature, the properties of the former will 
be parted as well from those of the latter: so that if the good is found in 
the first, the quality set against the good is to be perceived in the last. 
Thus, thanks to our clever systematizers, Manes lives again with his 
parallel line of evil in array over against the good, and his theory of 
opposite powers residing in opposite natures. 

Indeed, if we are to speak the truth boldly, without any reserve, Manes, 
who for having been the first, they say, to venture to entertain the 
Manichaean view, gave his name to that heresy, may fairly be considered 
the less offensive of the two. I say this, just as if one had to choose 
between a viper and an asp for the most affection towards man; still, if we 
consider, there is some difference between brutes. Does not a comparison 
of doctrines show that those older heretics are less intolerable than these? 
Manes thought he was pleading on the side of the Origin of Good, when 
he represented that Evil could derive thence none of its causes; so he 
linked the chain of things which are on the list of the bad to a separate 
Principle, in his character of the Almighty's champion, and in his pious 
aversion to put the blame of any unjustifiable aberrations upon that Source 
of Good; not perceiving, with his narrow understanding, that it is 
impossible even to conceive of God as the fashioner of evil, or on the other 



167 

hand, of any other First Principle besides Him. There might be a long 
discussion on this point, but it is beside our present purpose. We 
mentioned Manes' statements only in order to show, that he at all events 
thought it his duty to separate evil from anything to do with God. But the 
blasphemous error with regard to the Son, which these men systematize, is 
much more terrible. Like the others, they explain the existence of evil by a 
contrariety in respect of Being; but when they declare, besides this, that 
the God of the universe is actually the Maker of this alien production, and 
say that this "generation" formed by Him into a substance possesses a 
nature foreign to that of its Maker, they exhibit therein more of impiety 
than the aforesaid sect; for they not only give a personal existence to that 
which in its nature is opposed to good, but they say that a Good Deity is 
the Cause of another Deity who in nature diverges from His; and they all 
but openly exclaim in their teaching, that there is in existence something 
opposite to the nature of the good, deriving its personality from the good 
itself. For when we know the Father's substance to be good, and therefore 
find that the Son's substance, owing to its being unlike the Father's in its 
nature (which is the tenet of this heresy), is amongst the contrary 
predicables, what is thereby proved? Why, not only that the opposite to 
the good subsists, but that this contrary comes from the good itself. I 
declare this to be more horrible even than the irrationality of the 
Manichees. 

But if they repudiate this blasphemy from their system, though it is the 
logical carrying out of their teaching, and if they say that the 
Only -begotten has inherited the excellences of the Father, not as being 
really His Son, but — so does it please these misbelievers — as receiving 
His personality by an act of creation, let us look into this too, and see 
whether such an idea can be reasonably entertained. If, then, it were 
granted that it is as they think, viz., that the Lord of all things has not 
inherited as being a true Son, but that He rules a kindred of created things, 
being Himself made and created, how will the rest of creation accept this 
rule and not rise in revolt, being thus thrust down from kinship to 
subjection and condemned, though not a whit behind Him in natural 
prerogative (both being created), to serve and bend beneath a kinsman after 
all. That were like a usurpation, viz. not to assign the command to a 
superiority of Being, but to divide a creation that retains by right of nature 



168 

equal privileges into slaves and a ruling power, one part in command, the 
other in subjection; as if, as the result of an arbitrary distribution, these 
same privileges had been piled at random on one who after that 
distribution got preferred to his equals. Even man did not share his honor 
with the brutes, before he received his dominion over them; his prerogative 
of reason gave him the title to command; he was set over them, because of 
a variance of his nature in the direction of superiority. And human 
governments experience such quickly-repeated revolutions for this very 
reason, that it is impracticable that those to whom nature has given equal 
rights should be excluded from power, but her impulse is instinct in all to 
make themselves equal with the dominant party, when all are of the same 
blood. 

How, too, will it be true that "all things were made by Him," if it is true 
that the Son Himself is one of the things made? Either He must have made 
Himself, for that text to be true, and so this unreasonableness which they 
have devised to harm our Faith will recoil with all its force upon 
themselves; or else, if this is absurdly unnatural, that affirmation that the 
whole creation was made by Him will be proved to have no ground to 
stand on. The withdrawal of one makes "all" a false statement. So that, 
from this definition of the Son as a created being, one of two vicious and 
absurd alternatives is inevitable; either that He is not the Author of all 
created things, seeing that He, who, they insist, is one of those works, 
must be withdrawn from the "all;" or else, that He is exhibited as the 
maker of Himself, seeing that the preaching that 'without Him was not 
anything (made) that was made' is not a lie. So much for their teaching. 

36. A passing repetition of the teaching of the Church. 

But if a man keeps steadfast to the sound doctrine, and believes that the 
Son is of the nature which is divine without admixture, he will find 
everything in harmony with the other truths of his religion, viz., that Our 
Lord is the maker of all things, that He is King of the universe, set above it 
not by an arbitrary act of capricious power, but ruling by virtue of a 
superior nature; and besides this, he will find that the one First Cause, as 
taught by us, is not divided by any unlikeness of substance into separate 
first causes, but one Godhead, one Cause, one Power over all things is 
believed in, that Godhead being discoverable by the harmony existing 



169 

between these like beings, and leading on the mind through one like to 
another like, so that the Cause of all things, which is Our Lord, shines in 
our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit; (for it is impossible, as the 
Apostle says, that the Lord Jesus can be truly known, "except by the 
Holy Spirits "); and then all the Cause beyond, which is God over all, is 
found through Our Lord, Who is the Cause of all things; nor, indeed, is it 
possible to gain an exact knowledge of the Archetypal Good, except as it 
appears in the (visible) image of that invisible. But then, after passing that 
summit of theology, I mean the God over all, we turn as it were back again 
in the racecourse of the mind, and speed through conjoint and kindred 
ideas from the Father, through the Son, to the Holy Ghost. For once 
having taken our stand on the comprehension of the Ungenerate Light, we 
perceive that moment from that vantage ground the Light that streams 
from Him, like the ray co-existent with the sun, whose cause indeed is in 
the sun, but whose existence is synchronous with the sun, not being a later 
addition, but appearing at the first sight of the sun itself: or rather (for 
there is no necessity to be slaves to this similitude, and so give a handle to 
the critics to use against our teaching by reason of the inadequacy of our 
image), it will not be a ray of the sun that we shall perceive, but another 
sun blazing forth, as an offspring, out of the Ungenerate sun, and 
simultaneously with our conception of the First, and in every way like 
him, in beauty, in power, in luster, in size, in brilliance, in all things at once 
that we observe in the sun. Then again, we see yet another such Light after 
the same fashion sundered by no interval of time from that offspring Light, 
and while shining forth by means of It yet tracing the source of its being to 
the Primal Light; itself, nevertheless, a Light shining in like manner as the 
one first conceived of, and itself a source of light and doing all that light 
does. There is, indeed, no difference between one light and another light, 
qua light, when the one shows no lack or diminution of illuminating grace, 
but by its complete perfection forms part of the highest light of all, and is 
beheld along with the Father and the Son, though counted after them, and 
by its own power gives access to the light that is perceived in the Father 
and Son to all who are able to partake of it. So far upon this. 

37. Defense of S. Basil's statement, attacked by Eunomius, that the terms 'Father' 
and 'the Ungenerate' can have the same meaning. 



170 

The stream of his abuse is very strong; insolence is at the bottom of every 
principle he lays down; and vilification is put by him in the place of any 
demonstration of doubtful points so let us briefly discuss the many 
misrepresentations about the word Ungenerate with which he insults our 
Teacher himself and his treatise. He has quoted the following words of our 
Teacher: "For my part I should be inclined to say that this title of the 
Ungenerate, however fitting it may seem to express our ideas, yet, as 
nowhere found in Scripture and as forming the alphabet of Eunomius' 
blasphemy, may very well be suppressed, when we have the word Father 
meaning the same thing; for One who essentially and alone is Father comes 
from none else; and that which comes from none else is equivalent to the 
Ungenerate." Now let us hear what proof he brings of the 'folly' of these 
words: "Over-hastiness and shameless dishonesty prompt, him to put this 
dose of words anomalously used into his attempts; he turns completely 
round, because his judgment is wavering and his powers of reasoning are 
feeble." Notice how well-directed that blow is; how skillfully, with all his 
mastery of logic, he takes Basil's words to pieces and puts a conception 
more consistent with piety in their place! "Anomalous in phrase," "hasty 
and dishonest in judgment," "wavering and turning round from feebleness 
of reasoning." Why this? what has exasperated this man, whose own 
judgment is so firm and reasoning so sound? What is it that he most 
condemns in Basil's words? Is it, that he accepts the idea of the 
Ungenerate, but says that the actual word, as misused by those who 
pervert it, should be suppressed? Well; is the Faith in jeopardy only as 
regards words and outward expressions, and need we take no account of 
the correctness of the thought beneath? Or does not the Word of Truth 
rather exhort us first to have a heart pure from evil thoughts, and then, for 
the manifestation of the soul's emotions, to use any words that can 
express these secrets of the mind, without any minute care about this or 
that particular sound? For the speaking in this way or in that is not the 
cause of the thought within us; but the hidden conception of the heart 
supplies the motive for such and such words; "for from the abundance of 
the heart the mouth speaketh." We make the words interpret the thought; 
we do not by a reverse process gather; the thought from the words. Should 
both be at hand, a man may certainly be ready in both, in clever thinking 
and clever expression; but if the one should be wanting, the loss to the 
illiterate is slight, if the knowledge in his soul is perfect in the direction of 



171 

moral goodness. "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart 
is far from me." What is the meaning of that? That the fight attitude of the 
soul towards the truth is more precious than the propriety of phrases in 
the sight of God, who hears the "groanings that cannot be uttered." 
Phrases can be used in opposite senses; the tongue readily serving, at his 
will, the intention of the speaker; but the disposition of the soul, as it is, 
so is it seen by Him Who sees all secrets. Why, then, does he deserve to 
be called "anomalous," and "hasty," and "dishonest," for bidding us 
suppress all in the term Ungenerate which can aid in their blasphemy 
those who transgress the Faith, while minding and welcoming all the 
meaning in the word which can be reverently held. If indeed he had said 
that we ought not to think of the Deity as Ungenerate, there might have 
been some occasion for these and even worse terms of abuse to be used 
against him. But if he falls in with the general belief of the faithful and 
admits this, and then pronounces an opinion well worthy of the Master's 
mind, viz., "Refrain from the use of the word, for into it, and from it, the 
subverting heresy is fetched," and bids us cherish the idea of an ungenerate 
Deity by means of other names, — therein he does not deserve their 
abuse. Are we not taught by the Truth Himself to act so, and not to cling 
even to things exceeding precious, if any of them tend to mischief? When 
He thus bids us to cut away the right eye or foot or hand, if so be that one 
of them offends, what else does He imply by this figure, than that He 
would have anything, however fair-seeming, if it leads a man by an 
inconsiderate use to evil, remain inoperative and out of use, assuring us 
that it is better for us to be saved by amputation of the parts which led to 
sin, than to perish by retaining them? 

What, too, does Paul, the follower of Christ, say? He, too, in his deep 
wisdom teaches the same. He, who declares that "everything is good, and 
nothing to be rejected, if it be received with thanks," on some occasions, 
because of the 'conscience of the weak brother,' puts some things back 
from the number which he has accepted, and commands us to decline 
them. "If," he says, "meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh 
while the world standeth.- Now this is just what our follower of Paul did. 
He saw that the deceiving power of those who try to teach the inequality 
of the Persons was increased by this word Ungenerate, taken in their 
mischievous, heretical sense, and so he advised that, while we cherish in 



172 

our souls a devout consciousness of this ungenerate Deity, we should not 
show any particular love for the actual word, which was the occasion of 
sin to the reprobate; for that the title of Father, if we follow out all that it 
implies, will suggest to us this meaning of not having been generated. For 
when we hear the word Father, we think at once of the Author of all 
beings; for if He had some further cause transcending Himself, He would 
not have been called thus of proper right Father; for that title would have 
had to be transferred higher, to this pre-supposed Cause. But if He 
Himself is that Cause from which all comes, as the Apostle says, it is 
plain that nothing can be thought of beyond His existence. But this is to 
believe in that existence not having been generated. But this man, who 
claims that even the Truth shall not be considered more persuasive than 
himself, will not acquiesce in this; he loudly dogmatizes against it; he jeers 
at the argument. 

38. Several ways of controverting his quibbling syllogisms. 

Let us, if you please, examine his irrefragable syllogisms, and his subtle 
transpositions of the terms in his own false premises, by which he hopes 
to shake that argument; though, indeed. I fear lest the miserable quibbling 
in what he says may in a measure raise a prejudice also against the remarks 
that would correct it. When striplings challenge to a fight, men get more 
blame for pugnaciousness in closing with such foes, than honor for their 
show of victory. Nevertheless, what we want to say is this. We think, 
indeed, that the things said by him, with that well-known elocution now 
familiar to us, only for the sake of being insolent, are better buried in 
silence and oblivion; they may suit him; but to us they afford only an 
exercise for much-enduring patience. Nor would it be proper, I think, to 
insert his ridiculous expressions in the midst of our own serious 
controversy, and so to make this zeal for the truth evaporate in coarse, 
vulgar laughter; for indeed to be within hearing, and to remain unmoved, is 
an impossibility, when he says with such sublime and magnificent 
verbosity, "Where additional words amount to additional blasphemy, it is 
by half as much more tranquilizing to be silent than to speak." Let those 
laugh at these expressions who know which of them are fit to be believed, 
and which only to be laughed at; while we scrutinize the keenness of those 
syllogisms with which he tries to tear our system to pieces. 



173 

He says, "If 'Father' is the same in meaning as 'Ungenerate, and words 
which have the same meaning naturally have in every respect the same 
force, and Ungenerate signifies by their confession that God comes from 
no-tiring, it follows necessarily that Father signifies the fact of God being 
of none, and not the having generated the Son." Now what is this logical 
necessity which prevents the having generated a Son being signified by the 
title "Father," if so be that that same title does in itself express to us as 
well the absence of beginning in the Father? If, indeed, the one idea was 
totally destructive of the other, it would certainly follow, from the very 
nature of contradictories, that the affirming or the one would involve the 
denial of the other. But if there is nothing in the world to prevent the same 
Existence from being Father and also Ungenerate, when we try to think, 
under this title of Father, of the quality of not having been generated as 
one of the ideas implied in it, what necessity prevents the relation to a Son 
being any longer marked by the word Father? Other names which express 
mutual relationship are not always confined to those ideas of relationship; 
for instance, we call the emperor autocrat and masterless, and we call the 
same the ruler of his subjects; and, while it is quite true that the word 
emperor signifies also the being masterless, it is not therefore necessary 
that this word, because signifying autocratic and unruled, midst cease to 
imply the having power over inferiors; the word emperor, in fact, is 
midway between these two conceptions, and at one time indicates 
masterlessness, at another the ruling over lower orders. In the case before 
us, then, if there is some other Father conceivable besides the Father of 
Our Lord, let these men who boast of their profound wisdom show him to 
us, and then we will agree with him that the idea of the Ungenerate cannot 
be represented by the title "Father." But if the First Father has no cause 
transcending His own state, and the subsistence of the Son is invariably 
implied in the title of Father, why do they try to scare us, as if we were 
children, with these professional twistings of premises, endeavoring to 
persuade or rather to decoy us into the belief that, if the property of not 
having been generated is acknowledged in the title of Father, we must sever 
from the Father any relation with the Son. 

Despising, then, this silly superficial attempt of theirs, let us manfully 
own our belief in that which they adduce as a monstrous absurdity, viz., 
that not only does the 'Father' mean the same as Ungenerate and that this 



174 

last property establishes the Father as being of none, but also that the 
word 'Father' introduces with itself the notion of the Only-begotten, as a 
relative bound to it. Now the following passage, which is to be found in 
the treatise of our Teacher, has been removed from the context by this 
clever and invincible controversialist; for, by suppressing that part which 
was added by Basil by way of safeguard, he thought he would make his 
own reply a much easier task. The passage runs thus verbatim. "For my 
part I should be inclined to say that this title of the Ungenerate, however 
readily it may seem to fall in with our own ideas, yet, as nowhere found in 
Scripture, and as forming the alphabet of Eunomius' blasphemy, may very 
well be suppressed, when we have the word Father meaning the same 
thing, in addition to its introducing with itself, as a relative bound to it, the 
notion of the Son." This generous champion of the truth, with innate good 
feeling, has suppressed this sentence which was added by way of 
safeguard, I mean, "in addition to introducing with itself, as a relative 
bound to it, the notion of the Son;" after this garbling, he comes to close 
quarters with what remains, and having severed the connection of the 
living whole, and thus made it, as he thinks, a more yielding and assailable 
victim of his logic, he misleads his own party with the frigid and feeble 
paralogism, that "that which has a common meaning, in one single point, 
with something else retains that community of meaning in every possible 
point;" and with this he takes their shallow intelligences by storm. For 
while we have only affirmed that the word Father in a certain signification 
yields the same meaning as Ungenerate, this man makes the coincidence of 
meanings complete in every point, quite at variance therein with the 
common acceptation of either word; and so he reduces the matter to an 
absurdity, pretending that this word Father can no longer denote any 
relation to the Son, if the idea of not having been generated is conveyed by 
it. It is just as if some one, after having acquired two ideas about a loaf, — 
one, that it is made of flour, the other, that it is food to the consumer — 
were to contend with the person who told him this, using against him the 
same kind of fallacy as Eunomius does, viz., that 'the being made of flour 
is one thing, but the being food is another; if, then, it is granted that the 
loaf is made of flour, this quality in it can no longer strictly be called food.' 
Such is the thought in Eunomius' syllogism; "if the not having been 
generated is implied by the word Father, this word can no longer convey 
the idea of having generated the Son." But I think it is time that we, in our 



175 

turn, applied to this argument of his that magnificently rounded period of 
his own (already quoted). In reply to such words, it would be suitable to 
say that he would have more claim to be considered in his sober senses, if 
he had put the limit to such argumentative safeguards at absolute silence. 
For "where additional words amount to additional blasphemy," or, rather, 
indicate that he has utterly lost his reason, it is not only "by half as much 
more," but by the whole as much more "tranquilizing to be silent than to 
speak." 

But perhaps a man would be more easily led into the true view by 
personal illustrations; so let us leave this hooking backwards and forwards 
and this twisting of false premises, and discuss the matter in a less learned 
and more popular way. Your father, Eunomius, was certainly a human 
being; but the same person was also the author of your being. Did you, 
then, ever use in his case too this clever quibble which you have 
employed; so that your own 'father,' when once he receives the true 
definition of his being, can no longer mean, because of being a 'man,' any 
relationship to yourself; 'for he must be one of two things, either a man, or 
Eunomius' father?' -Well, then, you must not use the names of intimate 
relationship otherwise than in accordance with that intimate meaning. Yet, 
though you would indict for libel any one who contemptuously scoffed 
against yourself, by means of such an alteration of meanings, are you not 
afraid to scoff against God; and are you safe when you laugh at these 
mysteries of our faith? As 'your father' indicates relationship to yourself, 
and at the same time humanity is not excluded by that term, and as no one 
in his sober senses instead of styling him who begat you 'your father' 
would render his description by the word 'man,' or, reversely, if asked for 
his genus and answering 'man,' would assert that that answer prevented 
him from being your father; so in the contemplation of the Almighty a 
reverent mind would not deny that by the title of Father is meant that He 
is without generation, as well as that in another meaning it represents His 
relationship to the Son. Nevertheless Eunomius, in open contempt of 
truth, does assert that the title cannot mean the 'having begotten a son' 
any longer, when once the word has conveyed to us the idea of 'never 
having been generated.' 

Let us add the following illustration of the absurdity of his assertions. It is 
one that all must be familiar with, even mere children who are being 



176 

introduced under a grammar-tutor to the study of words. Who, I say, does 
not know that some nouns are absolute and out of all relation, others 
express some relationship. Of these last, again, there are some which 
incline, according to the speaker's wish, either way; they have a simple 
intention in themselves, but can be turned so as to become nouns of 
relation. I will not linger amongst examples foreign to our subject. I will 
explain from the words of our Faith itself. 

God is called Father and King and other names innumerable in Scripture. 
Of these names one part can be pronounced absolutely, i. e. simply as 
they are, and no more: viz.. "imperishable," "everlasting," "immortal," and 
so on. Each of these, without our bringing in another thought, contains in 
itself a complete thought about the Deity. Others express only relative 
usefulness; thus, Helper, Champion, Rescuer, and other words of that 
meaning; if you remove thence the idea of one in need of the help, all the 
force expressed by the word is gone. Some, on the other hand, as we have 
said, are both absolute, and are also amongst the words of relation; 'God,' 
for instance, and 'good,' and many other such. In these the thought does 
not continue always within the absolute. The Universal God often 
becomes the property of him who calls upon Him; as the Saints teach us, 
when they make that independent Being their own. 'The Lord God is 
Holy;' so far there is no relation; but when one adds the Lord Our God, 
and so appropriates the meaning in a relation towards oneself, then one 
causes the word to be no longer thought of absolutely. Again; "Abba, 
Father" is the cry of the Spirit; it is an utterance free from any partial 
reference. But we are bidden to call the Father in heaven, 'Our Father;' this 
is the relative use of the word. A man who makes the Universal Deity his 
own, does not dim His supreme dignity; and in the same way there is 
nothing to prevent us, when we point out the Father and Him who comes 
from Him, the Firstborn before all creation, from signifying by that title of 
Father at one and the same time the having begotten that Son, and also the 
not being from any more transcendent Cause. For he who speaks of the 
First Father means Him who is presupposed before all existence, Whose is 
the beyond. This is He, Who has nothing previous to Himself to behold, 
no end in which He shall cease. Whichever way we look, He is equally 
existing there for ever; He transcends the limit of any end, the idea of any 



177 

beginning, by the infinitude of His life; whatever be His title, eternity must 
be implied with it. 

But Eunomius, versed as he is in the contemplation of that which eludes 
thought, rejects this view of unscientific minds; he will not admit a double 
meaning in the word 'Father,' the one, that from Him are all things and in 
the front of all things the Only-begotten Son, the other, that He Himself 
has no superior Cause. He may scorn the statement; but we will brave his 
mocking laugh, and repeat what we have said already, that the 'Father' is 
the same as that Ungenerate One, and both signifies the having begotten 
the Son, and represents the being from nothing. 

But Eunomius, contending with this statement of ours, says (the very 
contrary now of what he said before), "If God is Father because He has 
begotten the Son. and 'Father' has the same meaning as Ungenerate, God is 
Ungenerate because He has begotten the Son, but before He begat Him He 
was not Ungenerate." Observe his method of turning round; how he pulls 
his first quibble to pieces, and turns it into the very opposite, thinking 
even so to entrap us in a conclusion from which there is no escape. His 
first syllogism presented the following absurdity, "If 'Father' means the 
coming from nothing, then necessarily it will no longer indicate the having 
begotten the Son." But this last syllogism, by turning (a premise) into its 
contrary, threatens our faith with another absurdity How, then, does he 
pull to pieces his former conclusion? "If He is 'Father' because He has 
begotten a Son." His first syllogism gave us nothing like that; on the 
contrary, its logical inference purported to show that if the Father's not 
having been generated was meant by the word Father, that word could not 
mean as well the having begotten a Son. Thus his first syllogism contained 
no intimation whatever that God was Father because He had begotten a 
Son. I fail to understand what this argumentative and shrewdly 
professional reversal means. 

But let us look to the thought in it below the words. 'If God is Ungenerate 
because He has begotten a Son, He was not Ungenerate before He begat 
Him.' The answer to that is plain it consists in the simple statement of the 
Truth that 'the word Father means both the having begotten a Son, and 
also that the Begetter is not to be thought of as Himself coming from any 
cause.' If you look at the effect, the Person of the Son is revealed in the 



178 

word Father; if you look for a previous Cause, the absence of any 
beginning in the Begetter is shown by that word. In saying that 'Before He 
begat a Son, the Almighty was not Ungenerate,' this pamphleteer lays 
himself open to a double charge; i.e. of misrepresentation of us, and of 
insult to the Faith. He attacks, as if there was no mistake about it, 
something which our Teacher never said, neither do we now assert, viz., 
that the Almighty became in process of time a Father, having been 
something else before. Moreover in ridiculing the absurdity of this fancied 
doctrine of ours, he proclaims his own wildness as to doctrine. Assuming 
that the Almighty was once something else, and then by an advance 
became entitled to be called Father, he would have it that before this He 
was not Ungenerate either, since Ungeneracy is implied in the idea of 
Father. The folly of this hardly needs to be pointed out; it will be 
abundantly clear to anyone who reflects. If the Almighty was something 
else before He became Father, what will the champions of this theory say, 
if they were asked in what state they propose to contemplate Him? What 
name are they going to give Him in that stage of existence; child, infant, 
babe, or youth? Will they blush at such flagrant absurdity, and say nothing 
like that, and concede that He was perfect from the first? Then how can 
He be perfect, while as yet unable to become Father? Or will they not 
deprive Him of this power, but say only that it was not fitting that there 
should be Fatherhood simultaneously with His existence. But if it was not 
good nor fitting that He should be from the very beginning Father of such a 
Son, how did He go on to acquire that which was not good? 

But, as it is, it is good and fitting to God's majesty that He should become 
Father of such a Son. So they will make out that at the beginning He had 
no share in this good thing, and as long as He did not have this Son they 
must assert (may God forgive me for saying it!) that He bad no Wisdom, 
nor Power, nor Truth, nor any of the other glories which from various 
points of view the Only-begotten Son is and is called. 

But let all this fall on the heads of those who started it. We will return 
whence we digressed. He says, "if God is Father because of having 
begotten a Son, and if Father means the being Ungenerate, then God was 
not this last, before He begat." Now if he could speak here as it is 
customary to speak about human life, where it is inconceivable that any 
should acquire possession of many accomplishments all at once, instead of 



179 

winning each of the objects sought after in a certain order and sequence of 
time — if I say we could reason like that in the case of the Almighty, so 
that we could say He possessed His Ungeneracy at one time, and after 
that acquired His power, and then His imperishability, and then His 
Wisdom, and advancing so became Father, and after that Just and then 
Everlasting, and so came into all that enters into the philosophical 
conception of Him, in a certain sequence — then it would not be so 
manifestly absurd to think that one of His names has precedence of 
another name, and to talk of His being first Ungenerate, and after that 
having become Father. 

As it is, however, no one is so earth-bound in imagination, so uninitiated in 
the sublimities of our Faith, as to fail, when once he has apprehended the 
Cause of the universe, to embrace in one collective and compact whole all 
the attributes which piety can give to God; and to conceive instead of a 
primal and a later attribute, and of another in between, supervening in a 
certain sequence. It is not possible, in fact, to traverse in thought one 
amongst those attributes and then reach another, be it a reality or a 
conception, which is to transcend the first in antiquity. Every name of 
God, every sublime conception of Him, every utterance or idea that 
harmonizes with our general ideas with regard to Him, is linked in closest 
union with its fellow; all such conceptions are massed together in our 
under standing into one collective and compact whole namely, His 
Fatherhood, and Ungeneracy, and Power, and Imperishability, and 
Goodness, and Authority, and everything else. You cannot take one of 
these and separate it in thought from the rest by any interval of time, as if 
it preceded or followed something else; no sublime or adorable attribute in 
Him can be discovered, which is not simultaneously expressed in His 
everlastingness. Just, then, as we cannot say that God was ever not good, 
or powerful, or imperishable, or immortal, in the same way it is a 
blasphemy not to attribute to Him Fatherhood always, and to say that 
that came later. He Who is truly Father is always Father; if eternity was 
not included in this confession, and if a foolishly preconceived idea 
curtailed and checked retrospectively our conception of the Father, true 
Fatherhood could no longer be properly predicated of Him, because that 
preconceived idea about the Son would cancel the continuity and eternity 
of His Father hood. How could that which He is now called be thought of 



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something which came into existence subsequent to these other attributes? 
If being first Ungenerate He then became Father, and received that name, 
He was not always altogether what He is now called. But that which the 
God now existing is He always is; He does not become worse or better by 
any addition, He does not become altered by taking something from 
another source. He is always identical with Himself. If, then, He was not 
Father at first, He was not Father afterwards. But if He is confessed to be 
Father (now), I will recur to the same argument, that, if He is so now, He 
always was so; and that if He always was, He always will be. The Father 
therefore is always Father; and seeing that the Son must always be thought 
of along with the Father (for the title of father cannot be justified unless 
there is a son to make it true), all that we contemplate in the Father is to 
be observed also in the Son. "All that the Father hath is the Son's; and all 
that is the Son's the Father hath." The words are, 'The Father hath that 
which is the Son's,' and so a carping critic will have no authority for 
finding in the contents of the word "all" the ungeneracy of the Son, when 
it is said that the Son has all that the Father has, nor on the other hand the 
generation of the Father, when all that is the Son's is to be observed in the 
Father. For the Son has all the things of the Father; but He is not Father: 
and again, all the things of the Son are to be observed in the Father, but He 
is not a Son. 

If, then, all that is the Father' s is in the Only-begotten, and He is in the 
Father, and the Fatherhood is not dissociated from the 'not having been 
generated,' I for my part cannot see what there is to think of in connection 
with the Father, by Himself, that is parted by any interval so as to 
precede our apprehension of the Son. Therefore we may boldly encounter 
the difficulties started in that quibbling syllogism; we may despise it as a 
mere scare to frighten children, and still assert that God is Holy, and 
Immortal, and Father, and Ungenerate, and Everlasting, and everything all 
at once; and that, if it could be supposed possible that you could withhold 
one of these attributes which devotion assigns to Him, all would be 
destroyed along with that one. Nothing, therefore, in Him is older or 
younger; else He would be found to be older or younger than Himself. If 
God is not all His attributes always, but something in Him is, and 
something else only becoming, following some order of sequence (we must 
remember God is not a compound; whatever He is the whole of Him), and 



181 

if according to this heresy He is first Ungenerate and afterwards becomes 
Father, then, seeing that we cannot think of Him in connection with a 
heaping together of qualities, there is no alternative but that the whole of 
Him must be both older and younger than the whole of Him, the former by 
virtue of His Ungeneracy, the latter by virtue of His Fatherhood. But if, as 
the prophet says of God, He "is the same," it is idle to say that before He 
begat He was not Himself Ungenerate; we cannot find either of these 
names, the Father and the Ungenerate One, parted from the other the two 
ideas rise together, suggested by each other, in the thoughts of the devout 
reasoner. God is Father from everlasting, and everlasting Father, and every 
other term that devotion assigns to Him is given in a like sense, the 
mensuration and the flow of time having no place, as we have said, in the 
Eternal. 

Let us now see the remaining results of his expertness in dealing with 
words; results, which he himself truly says, are at once ridiculous and 
lamentable. Truly one must laugh outright at what he says, if a deep 
lament for the error that steeps his soul were not more fitting. Whereas 
Father, as we teach, includes, according to one of its meanings, the idea of 
the Ungenerate, he transfers the full signification of the word Father to 
that of the Ungenerate, and declares "If Father is the same as Ungenerate, 
it is allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate instead; thus, the 
Ungenerate of the Son is Ungenerate; for as the Ungenerate is Father of the 
Son, so reversely the Father is Ungenerate of the Son." After this a feeling 
of admiration for our friend's adroitness steals over me, with the 
conviction that the many-sided subtlety of his theological training is quite 
beyond the capacity of most. What our Teacher said was embraced in one 
short sentence, to the effect that it was possible that by the title 'Father' 
the Ungeneracy could be signified; but Eunomius' words depend for their 
number not on the variety of the thoughts, but on tile way that anything 
within the circuit of similar names can be turned about. As the cattle that 
run blindfold round to turn the mill remain with all their travel in the same 
spot, so does he go round and round the same topic, and never leaves it. 
Once he said, ridiculing us, that 'Father' does not signify the having 
begotten, but the being from nothing. Again he wove a similar dilemma, "If 
Father signifies Ungeneracy, before He begat He was not ungenerate." 
Then a third time he resorts to the same trick. "It is allowable for us to 



182 

drop Father, and to use Ungenerate instead;" and then directly he repeats 
the logic so often vomited. "For as the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so 
reversely the Father is Ungenerate of the Son." How often be returns to 
his vomit; how often he blurts it out again! Shall we not, then, annoy most 
people, if we drag about our argument in company with this foolish 
display of words? It would be perhaps more decent to be silent in a case 
like this; still, lest any one should think that we decline discussion because 
we are weak in pleas, we will answer thus to what he has said. 'You have 
no authority, Eunomius, for calling the Father the Ungenerate of the Son, 
even though the title Father does signify that the Begetter was from no 
cause Himself. For as, to take the example already cited, when we hear the 
word 'Emperor' we understand two things, both that the one who is 
pre-eminent in authority is subject to none, and also that he controls his 
inferiors, so the title Father supplies us with two ideas about the Deity, 
one relating to His Son, the other to His being dependent on no 
preconceivable cause. As, then, in the case of 'Emperor' we cannot say 
that because the two things are signified by that term, viz., the ruling over 
subjects and the not having any to take precedence of him, there is any 
justification for speaking of the 'Unruled of subjects,' instead of the 'Ruler 
of the nation,' or allowing so much, that we may use such a juxtaposition 
of words, in imitation of king of a nation, as kingless of a nation, in the 
same way when 'Father' indicates a Son, and also represents the idea of 
the Ungenerate, we may not unduly transfer this latter meaning, so as to 
attach this idea of the Ungenerate fast to a paternal relationship, and 
absurdly say 'the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son.' 

He treads on the ground of truth, he thinks, after such utterances; he has 
exposed the absurdity of his adversaries' position; how boastfully he 
cries, "And what sane thinker, pray, ever yet wanted the natural thought 
to be suppressed, and welcomed the paradoxical?" No sane thinker, most 
accomplished sir; and therefore our argument neither, which teaches that 
while the term Ungenerate does suit our thoughts, and we ought to guard it 
in our hearts intact, yet the term Father is an adequate substitute for the 
one which you have perverted, and leads the mind in that direction. 
Remember the words which you yourself quoted; Basil did not 'want the 
natural thought to be suppressed, and welcome the paradoxical,' as you 
phrase it; but he advised us to avoid all danger by suppressing the mere 



183 

word Ungenerate, that is, the expression in so many syllables, as one 
which had been evilly interpreted, and besides was not to be found in 
Scripture; as for its meaning he declares that it does most completely suit 
our thoughts. 

Thus far for our statement. But this reviler of all quibblers, who 
completely arms his own argument with the truth, and arraigns our Sins in 
logic, does not blush in any of his arguing on doctrines to indulge in very 
pretty quibbles; on a par with those exquisite jokes which are cracked to 
make people laugh at dessert. Reflect on the weight of reasoning displayed 
in that complicated syllogism; which I will now again repeat. "If 'Father' 
is the same as Ungenerate, it is allowable for us to drop it, and use 
Ungenerate instead; thus, the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son; for as 
the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so, reversely, the Father is Ungenerate 
of the Son." Well, this is very like another case such as the following. 
Suppose some one were to state the right and sound view about Adam; 
namely, that it mattered not whether we called him "father of mankind" or 
"the first man formed by God" (for both mean the same thing), and then 
some one else, belonging to Eunomius' school of reasoners, were to 
pounce upon this statement, and make the same complication out of it, 
viz.: If "first man formed by God" and "father of mankind" are the same 
things, it is allowable for us to drop the word "father" and use "first 
formed" instead; and say that Adam was the "first formed," instead of the 
"father," of Abel; for as the first formed was the father of a son, so, 
feversely, that father is the first formed of that son. If this had been said in 
a tavern, what laughter and applause would have broken from the tippling 
circle over so fine and exquisite a joke! These are the arguments on which 
our learned theologian leans; when he assails our doctrine, he really need's 
himself a tutor and a stick to teach him that all the things which are 
predicated of some one do not necessarily, in their meaning, have respect 
to one single object; as is plain from the aforesaid instance of Abel and 
Adam. That one and the same Adam is Abel's father and also God's 
handiwork is a truth; nevertheless it does not follow that, because he is 
both, he is both with respect to Abel. So the designation of the Almighty 
as Father has both the special meaning of that word, i.e., the having 
begotten a son, and also that of there being no preconceivable cause of the 
Very Father; nevertheless it does not follow that when we mention the 



184 

Son we must speak of the Ungenerate, instead of the Father, of that Son; 
nor, on the other hand, if the absence of beginning remains unexpressed in 
reference to the Son, that we must banish from our thoughts about God 
that attribute of Ungeneracy. But he discards the usual acceptations, and 
like an actor in comedy, makes a joke of the whole subject, and by dint of 
the oddity of his quibbles makes the questions of our faith ridiculous. 
Again I must repeat his words: "If Father is the same as Ungenerate, it is 
allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate instead; thus, the 
Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son; for as the Ungenerate is Father of the 
Son, so, feversely, the Father is Ungenerate of the Son." But let us turn the 
laugh against him, by reversing his quibble; thus: It Father is not the same 
as Ungenerate, the Son of the Father will not be Son of the Ungenerate; for 
having relation to the Father only, he will be altogether alien in nature to 
that which is other than Father, and does not suit that idea; so that, if the 
Father is something other than the Ungenerate, and the title Father does 
not comprehend that meaning, the Son, being One, cannot be distributed 
between these two relationships, and be at the same time Son both of the 
Father and of the Ungenerate; and, as before it was an acknowledged 
absurdity to speak of the Deity as Ungenerate of the Son, so in this 
converse proposition it will be found an absurdity just as great to call the 
Only-begotten Son of the Ungenerate. So that he must choose one of two 
things; either the Father is the same as the Ungenerate (which is necessary 
in order that the Son of the Father may be Son of the Ungenerate as well); 
and then our doctrine has been ridiculed by him without reason; or, the 
Father is something different to the Ungenerate, and the Son of the Father 
is alienated from all relationship to the Ungenerate. But then, if it is thus 
to hold that the Only -begotten is not the Son of the Ungenerate, logic 
inevitably points to a "generated Father;" for that which exists, but does 
not exist without generation, must have a generated substance. If, then, the 
Father, being according to these men other than Ungenerate, is therefore 
generated, where is their much talked of Ungeneracy? Where is that basis 
and foundation of their heretical castle-building? The Ungenerate, which 
they thought just now that they grasped, has eluded them, and vanished 
quite beneath the action of a few barren syllogisms; their would-be 
demonstration of the Unlikeness, like a mere dream about something, slips 
away at the touch of criticism, and takes its flight along with this 
Ungenerate. 



185 

Thus it is that whenever a falsehood is welcomed in preference to the 
truth, it may indeed flourish for a little through the illusion which it 
creates, but it will soon collapse; its own methods of proof will dissolve it. 
But we bring this forward only to raise a smile at the very pretty revenge 
we might take on their Unlikeness . We must now resume the main thread 
of our discourse. 

39. Answer to the question he is always asking, "Can He who is be begotten?" 

Eunomius does not like the meaning of the Ungenerate to be conveyed by 
the term Father, because he wants to establish that there was a time when 
the Son was not. It is in fact a constant question amongst his pupils, 
"How can He who (always) is be begotten?" This comes, I take it, of not 
weaning oneself from the human application of words, when we have to 
think about God. But let us without bitterness at once expose the actual 
falseness of this 'arriere pensee' of his, stating first our conclusions upon 
the matter. 

These names have a different meaning with us, Eunomius; when we come 
to the transcendent energies they yield another sense Wide, indeed, is the 
interval in all else that divides the human from the divine; experience 
cannot point here below to anything at all resembling in amount what we 
may guess at and imagine there. So likewise, as regards the meaning of our 
terms, though there may be, so far as words go, some likeness between 
man and the Eternal, yet the gulf between these two worlds is the real 
measure of the separation of meanings. For instance, our Lord calls God a 
'man' that was a 'householder' in the parable; but though this title is ever 
so familiar to us, will the person we think of and the person there meant 
be of the same description; and will our 'house' be the same as that large 
house, in which, as the Apostle says, there are the vessels of gold, and 
those of silver, and those of the other materials which are recounted? Or 
will not those rather be beyond our immediate apprehension and to be 
contemplated in a blessed immortality, while ours are earthern, and to 
dissolve to earth? So in almost all the other terms there is a similarity of 
names between things human and things divine, revealing nevertheless 
underneath this sameness a wide difference of meanings. We find alike in 
both worlds the mention of bodily limbs and senses; as with us, so with 
the life of God, which all allow to be above sense, there are set down in 



186 

order fingers and arm and hand, eye and eyelids, hearing, heart, feet and 
sandals, horses, cavalry, and chariots; and other metaphors innumerable 
are taken from human life to illustrate symbolically divine things. As, then, 
each one of these names has a human sound, but not a human meaning, so 
also that of Father, while applying equally to life divine and human, hides 
a distinction between the uttered meanings exactly proportionate to the 
difference existing between the subjects of this title. We think of man's 
generation one way; we surmise of the divine generation in another. A man 
is born in a stated time; and a particular place must be the receptacle of his 
life; without it it is not in nature that he should have any concrete 
substance: whence also it is inevitable that sections of time are found 
enveloping his life; there is a Before, and With, and After him. It is true to 
say of any one whatever of those born into this world that there was a 
time when he was not, that he is now, and again there will be time when he 
will cease to exist; but into the Eternal world these ideas of time do not 
enter; to a sober thinker they have nothing akin to that world. He who 
considers what the divine life really is will get beyond the 'sometime,' the 
'before,' and the 'after,' and every mark whatever of this extension in 
time; he will have lofty views upon a subject so lofty; nor will he deem 
that the Absolute is bound by those laws which he observes to be in force 
in human generation. 

Passion precedes the concrete existence of man; certain material 
foundations are laid for the formation of the living creature; beneath it all is 
Nature, by God's will, with her wonder-working, putting everything under 
contribution for the proper proportion of nutrition for that which is to be 
born, taking from each terrestrial element the amount necessary for the 
particular case, receiving the co-operation of a measured time, and as much 
of the food of the parents as is necessary for the formation of the child: in 
a word Nature, advancing through all these processes by which a human 
life is built up, brings the non-existent to the birth; and accordingly we say 
that, non-existent once, it now is born; because, at one time not being, at 
another it begins to be. But when it comes to the Divine generation the 
mind rejects this ministration of Nature, and this fullness of time in 
contributing to the development, and everything else which our argument 
contemplated as taking place in human generation; and he who enters on 
divine topics with no carnal conceptions will not fall down again to the 



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level of any of those debasing thoughts, but seeks for one in keeping with 
the majesty of the thing to be expressed; he will not think of passion in 
connection with that which is passionless, or count the Creator of all 
Nature as in need of Nature's help, or admit extension in time into the 
Eternal life; he will see that the Divine generation is to be cleared of all 
such ideas, and will allow to the title 'Father' only the meaning that the 
Only-begotten is not Himself without a source, but derives from That the 
cause of His being; though, as for the actual beginning of His subsistence, 
he will not calculate that, because he will not be able to see any sign of the 
thing in question. 'Older' and 'younger' and all such notions are found to 
involve intervals of time; and so, when you mentally abstract time in 
general, all such indications are got rid of along with it. 

Since, then, He who is with the Father, in some inconceivable category, 
before the ages admits not of a 'sometime,' He exists by generation indeed, 
but nevertheless He never begins to exist. His life is neither in time, nor in 
place. But when we take away these and all suchlike ideas in 
contemplating the subsistence of the Son, there is only one thing that we 
can even think of as before Him — i.e. the Father. But the Only-begotten, 
as He Himself has told us, is in the Father, and so, from His nature, is not 
open to the supposition that He ever existed not. If indeed the Father ever 
was not, the eternity of the Son must be canceled retrospectively in 
consequence of this nothingness of the Father: but if the Father is always, 
how can the Son ever be non-existent, when He cannot be thought of at all 
by Himself apart from the Father, but is always implied silently in the 
name Father. This name in fact conveys the two Persons equally; the idea 
of the Son is inevitably suggested by that word. When was it, then, that 
the Son was not? In what category shall we detect His non-existence? In 
place? There is none. In time? Our Lord was before all times; and if so, 
when was He not? And it He was in the Father, in what place was He not? 
Tell us that, ye who are so practiced in seeing things out of sight. What 
kind of interval have your cogitations given a shape to? What vacancy in 
the Son, be it of sub stance or of conception, have you been able to think 
of, which shows the Father' s life, when drawn out in parallel, as 
surpassing that of the Only-begotten? Why, even of men we cannot say 
absolutely that any one was not, and then was born. Levi, many 
generations before his own birth in the flesh, was tithed by Melchisedech; 



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so the Apostle says, "Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes (in 
Abraham)," adding the proof, "for he was yet in the loins of his father, 
when" Abraham met the priest of the Most High. If, then, a man in a 
certain sense is not, and is then born, having existed beforehand by virtue 
of kinship of substance in his progenitor, according to an Apostle's 
testimony, how as to the Divine life do they dare to utter the thought that 
He was not, and then was begotten? For He 'is in the Father,' as our Lord 
has told us; "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me," each of course 
being in the other in two different senses; the Son being in the Father as 
the beauty of the image is to be found in the form from which it has been 
outlined; and the Father in the Son, as that original beauty is to be found in 
the image of itself. Now in all hand-made images the interval of time is a 
point of separation between the model and that to which it lends its form; 
but there the one cannot be separated from the other, neither the "express 
image" from the "Person," to use the Apostle's words, nor the 
"brightness" from the "glory" of God, nor the representation from the 
goodness; but winch once thought has grasped one of these, it has 
admitted the associated Verity as well. "Being" he says (not becoming), 
"the brightness of His glory;" so that clearly we may rid ourselves for ever 
of the blasphemy which lurks in either of those two conceptions; viz., that 
the Only-begotten can be thought of as Ungenerate (for he says "the 
brightness of His glory," the brightness coming from the glory, and not, 
reversely, the glory from the brightness); or that He ever began to be. For 
the word "being" is a witness that interprets to us the Son's continuity 
and eternity and superiority to all marks of time. 

What occasion, then, had our foes for proposing for the damage of our 
Faith that trifling question, which they think unanswerable and, so, a 
proving of their own doctrine, and which they are continually asking, 
namely, 'whether One who is can be generated.' We may boldly answer 
them at once, that He who is in the Ungenerate was generated from Him, 
and does derive His source from Him. 'I live by the Father:' but it is 
impossible to name the 'when' of His beginning. When there is no 
intermediate matter, or idea, or interval of time, to separate the being of the 
Son from the Father, no symbol can be thought of, either, by which the 
Only -begotten can be unlinked from the Father's life, and shewn to 
proceed from some special source of His own. If, then, there is no other 



189 

principle that guides the Son' s life, if there is nothing that a devout mind 
can contemplate before (but not divided from) the subsistence of the Son, 
but the Father only; and if the Father is without beginning or generation, as 
even our adversaries admit, how can He who can be contemplated only 
within the Father, who is without beginning, admit Himself of a beginning? 

What harm, too, does our Faith suffer from our admitting those 
expressions of our opponents which they bring forward against us as 
absurd, when they ask 'whether He which is can be begotten? 'We do not 
assert that this can be so in the sense in which Nicodemus put his 
offensive question, wherein he thought it impossible that one who was in 
existence could come to a second birth: but we assert that, having His 
existence attached to an Existence which is always and is without 
beginning, and accompanying every investigator into the antiquities of 
time, and forestalling the curiosity of thought as it advances into the world 
beyond, and intimately blended as He is with all our conceptions of the 
Father He has no beginning of His existence any more than He is 
Ungenerate: but He was both begotten and was, evincing on the score of 
causation generation from the Father but by virtue of His everlasting life 
repelling any moment of non-existence. 

But this thinker in his exceeding subtlety contravenes this statement; he 
sunders the being of the Only -begotten from the Father's nature, on the 
ground of one being Generated, the other Ungenerate; and although there 
are such a number of names which with reverence may be applied to the 
Deity, and all of them suitable to both Persons equally, he pays no 
attention to anyone of them, because these others indicate that in which 
Both participate; he fastens on the name Ungenerate, and that alone; and 
even of this he will not adopt the usual and approved meaning; be 
revolutionizes the conception of it, and cancels its common associations. 
Whatever can be the reason of this? For without some very strong one he 
would not wrest language away from its accepted meaning, and innovate 
by changing the signification of words. He knows perfectly well that if 
their meaning was confined to the customary one he would have no power 
to subvert the sound doctrine; but that if such terms are perverted from 
their common and current acceptation, he will be able to spoil the doctrine 
along with the word. For instance (to come to the actual words which he 
misuses), if, according to the common thinking of our Faith be had allowed 



190 

that God was to be called Ungenerate only because He was never 
generated, the whole fabric of his heresy would have collapsed, with the 
withdrawal of his quibbling about this Ungenerate. If, that is, he was to be 
persuaded, by following out the analogy of almost all the names of God in 
use for the Church, to think of the God over all as Ungenerate, just as He 
is invisible, and passionless, and immaterial; and if he was agreed that in 
every one of these terms there was signified only that which in no way 
belongs to God — body, for instance, and passion and color, and 
derivation from a cause — then, if his view of the case had been like that, 
his party's tenet of the Unlikeness would lose its meaning; for in all else 
(except the Ungeneracy) that is conceived concerning the God of all even 
these adversaries allow the likeness existing between the Only-begotten 
and the Father. But to prevent this, he puts the term Ungenerate in front 
of all these names indicating God's transcendent nature; and he makes this 
one a vantage-ground from which he may sweep down upon our Faith; he 
transfers the contrariety between the actual expressions 'Generated' and 
'Ungenerate' to the Persons themselves to whom these words apply; and 
thereby, by this difference between the words he argues by a quibble for a 
difference between the Beings; not agreeing with us that Generated is to be 
used only because the Son was generated, and Ungenerate because the 
Father exists without having been generated; but affirming that he thinks 
the former has acquired existence by having been generated; though what 
sort of philosophy leads him to such a view I cannot understand. If one 
were to attend to the mere meanings of those words by themselves, 
abstracting in thought those Persons for whom the names are taken to 
stand, one would discover the groundlessness of these statements of 
theirs. Consider, then, not that, in consequence of the Father being a 
conception prior to the Son (as the Faith truly teaches), the order of the 
names themselves must be arranged so as to correspond with the value and 
order of that which underlies them; but regard them alone by themselves, 
to see which of them (the word, I repeat, not the Reality which it 
represents) is to be placed before the other as a conception of our mind; 
which of the two conveys the assertion of an idea, which the negation of 
the same; for instance (to be clear, I think similar pairs of words will give 
my meaning), Knowledge, Ignorance — Passion, Passionlessness — and 
suchlike contrasts, which of them possess priority of conception before 
the others? Those which posit the negation, or those which posit the 



191 

assertion of the said quality? I take it the latter do so. Knowledge, anger, 
passion, are conceived of first; and then comes the negation of these ideas. 
And let no one, in his excess of devotion, blame this argument, as if it 
would put the Son before the Father. We are not making out that the Son 
is to be placed in conception before the Father, seeing that the argument is 
discriminating only the meanings of 'Generated,' and 'Ungenerate.' So 
Generation signifies the assertion of some reality or some idea; while 
Ungeneracy signifies its negation; so that there is every reason that 
Generation must be thought of first. Why, then, do they insist herein on 
fixing on the Father the second, in order of conception, of these two 
names; why do they keep on thinking that a negation can define and can 
embrace the whole substance of the term in question, and are roused to 
exasperation against those who point out the groundlessness of their 
arguments? 

40. His unsuccessful attempt to be consistent with his own statements after Basil 

has confuted him. 

For notice how bitter he is against one who did detect the rottenness and 
weakness of his work of mischief; how he revenges himself all he can, and 
that is only by abuse and vilification: in these, however, he possesses 
abundant ability. Those who would give elegance of style to a discourse 
have a way of filling out the places that want rhythm with certain 
conjunctive particles, whereby they introduce more euphony and 
connection into the assembly of their phrases; so does Eunomius garnish 
his work with abusive epithets in most of his passages, as though he 
wished to make a display of this overflowing power of invective. Again 
we are 'fools,' again we 'fail in correct reasoning,' and 'meddle in the 
controversy without the preparation which its importance requires,' and 
'miss the speaker's meaning.' Such, and still more than these, are the 
phrases used of our Master by this decorous orator. But perhaps after all 
there is good reason in his anger; and this pamphleteer is justly indignant. 
For why should Basil have stung him by thus exposing the weakness of 
this teaching of his? Why should he have uncovered to the sight of the 
simpler brethren the blasphemy veiled beneath his plausible sophistries? 
Why should he not have let silence cover the unsoundness of this view? 
Why gibbet the wretched man, when he ought to have pitied him, and kept 
the veil over the indecency of his argument? He actually finds out and 



192 

makes a spectacle of one who has somehow got to be admired amongst his 
private pupils for cleverness and shrewdness! Eunomius had said 
somewhere in his works that the attribute of being ungenerate "follows" 
the deity. Our Master remarked upon this phrase of his that a thing which 
"follows" must be amongst the externals, whereas the actual Being is not 
one of these, but indicates the very existence of anything, so far as it does 
exist. Then this gentle yet unconquerable opponent is furious, and pours 
along a copious stream of invective, because our Master, on hearing that 
phrase, apprehended the sense of it as well. But what did he do wrong, if 
he firmly insisted only upon the meaning of your own writings. If indeed 
he had seized illogically on what was said, all that you say would be true, 
and we should have to ignore what he did; but seeing that you are blushing 
at his reproof, why do you not erase the word from your pamphlet, 
instead of abusing the reprover? 'Yes, but he did not understand the drift 
of the argument. Well, how do we do wrong, if being human, we guessed at 
the meaning from your actual words, having no comprehension of that 
which was buried in your heart? It is for God to see the inscrutable, and to 
inspect the characters of that which we have no means of comprehending, 
and to be cognizant of unlikeness in the invisible world. We can only judge 
by what we hear. 

41. The thing that follows is not the same as the thing that it follows. 

He first says, "the attribute of being ungenerate follows the Deity." By 
that we understood him to mean that this Ungeneracy is one of the things 
external to God. Then he says," Or rather this Ungeneracy is His actual 
being." We fail to understand the 'sequitur' of this; we notice in fact 
something very queer and incongruous about it. If Ungeneracy follows 
God, and yet also constitutes His being, two beings will be attributed to 
one and the same subject in this view; so that God will be in the same way 
as He was before and has always been believed to be, but besides that will 
have another being accompanying, which they style Ungeneracy, quite 
distinct from Him Whose 'following' it is, as our Master puts it. Well, if 
he commands us to think so, he must pardon our poverty of ideas, in not 
being able to follow out such subtle speculations. 

But if he disowns this view, and does not admit a double being in the 
Deity, one represented by the godhead, the other by the ungeneracy, let 



193 

our friend, who is himself neither 'rash' nor 'malignant,' prevail upon 
himself not to be over partial to invective while these combats for the 
truth are being fought, but to explain to us, who are so wanting in culture, 
how that which follows is not one thing and that which leads another, but 
bow both coalesce into one; for, in spite of what he says in defense of his 
statement, the absurdity of it remains; and the addition of that handful of 
words does not correct, as he asserts, the contradiction in it. I have not yet 
been able to see that any explanation at all is discoverable in them. But we 
will give what he has written verbatim. "We say, 'or rather the 
Ungeneracy is His actual being,' without meaning to contract into the 
beings that which we have proved to follow it, but applying 'follow' to 
the title, but is to the being." Accordingly when these things are taken 
together, the whole resulting argument would be, that the title Ungenerate 
follows, because to be Ungenerate is His actual being. But what expounder 
of this expounding shall we get? He says "without meaning to contract 
into the being that which we have proved to follow it." Perhaps some of 
the guessers of riddles might tell us that by 'contract into' he means 
'fastening together.' But who can see anything intelligible or coherent in 
the rest? The results of 'following' belong, he tells us, not to the being, but 
to the title. But, most learned sir, what is the title? Is it in discord with the 
being, or does it not rather coincide with it in the thinking? If the title is 
inappropriate to the being, then how can the being be represented by the 
title; but if, as he himself phrases it, the being is fittingly defined by the 
title of Ungenerate, how can there be any parting of them after that? You 
make the name of the being follow one thing and the being itself another. 
And what then is the 'construction of the entire view?' "The title 
Ungenerate follows God, seeing that He Himself is Ungenerate." He says 
that there 'follows' God, Who is something oilier than that which is 
Ungenerate, this very title. Then how can he place the definition of 
Godhead within the Ungeneracy? Again, he says that this title 'follows' 
God as existing without a previous generation. Who will solve us the 
mystery of such riddles? 'Ungenerate' preceding and then following; first a 
fittingly attached title of the being, and then following like a stranger! 
What, too, is the cause or this excessive flutter about this name; he gives to 
it the whole contents of godhead; as if there will be nothing wanting in our 
adoration, if God be so named; and as if the whole system of our faith will 



194 

be endangered, if He is not? Now, if a brief statement about this should 
not be deemed superfluous and irrelevant, we will thus explain the matter. 

42. Explanation of 'Ungenerate,' and a 'study' of Eternity. 

The eternity of God's life, to sketch it in mere outline, is on this wise. He 
is always to be apprehended as in existence; He admits not a time when 
He was not, and when He will not be. Those who draw a circular figure in 
plane geometry from a center to the distance of the line of circumference 
tell us there is no definite beginning to their figure; and that the line is 
interrupted by no ascertained end any more than by any visible 
commencement: they say that, as it forms a single whole in itself with 
equal radii on all sides, it avoids giving any indication of beginning or 
ending. When, then, we compare the Infinite being to such a figure, 
circumscribed though it be, let none find fault with this account; for it is 
not on the circumference, but on the similarity which the figure bears to 
the Life which in every direction eludes the grasp, that we fix our attention 
when we affirm that such is our intuition of the Eternal. From the present 
instant, as from a center and a "point," we extend thought in all directions, 
to the immensity of that Life. We find that we are drawn round 
uninterruptedly and evenly, and that we are always following a 
circumference where there is nothing to grasp; we find the divine life 
returning upon itself in an unbroken continuity, where no end and no parts 
can be recognized. Of God's eternity we say that which we have heard 
from prophecy; viz.. that God is a king "of old," and rules for ages, and for 
ever, and beyond. Therefore we define Him to be earlier than any 
beginning, and exceeding any end. Entertaining, then, this idea of the 
Almighty, as one that is adequate, we express it by two titles; i.e., 
'Ungenerate' and 'Endless' represent this infinitude and continuity and 
ever-lastingness of the Deity. If we adopted only one of them for our idea, 
and if the remaining one was dropped, our meaning would be marred by 
this omission; for it is impossible with either one of them singly to express 
the notion residing in each of the two; but when one speaks of the 
'endless,' only the absence as regards an end has been indicated, and it 
does not follow that any hint has been given about a beginning; while, 
when one speaks of the 'Unoriginate,' the fact of being beyond a beginning 
has been expressed, but the case as regards an end has been left quite 
doubtful. 



195 

Seeing, then, that these two titles equally help to express the eternity of 
the divine life, it is high time to inquire why our friends cut in two the 
complete meaning of this eternity, and declare that the one meaning, which 
is the negation of beginning, constitutes God's being (instead of merely 
forming part of the definition of eternity), while they consider the other, 
which is the negation of end, as amongst the externals of that being. It is 
difficult to see the reason for thus assigning the negation of beginning to 
the realm of being, while they banish the negation of end outside that 
realm. The two are our conceptions of the same thing; and, therefore, 
either both should be admitted to the definition of being, or, if the one is to 
be judged inadmissible, the other should be rejected also. If, however, they 
are determined thus to divide the thought of eternity, and to make the one 
fall within the realm of that being, and to reckon the other with the 
non-realities of Deity (for the thoughts which they adopt on this subject 
are groveling, and, like birds who have shed their feathers, they are unable 
to soar into the sublimities of theology), I would advise them to reverse 
their teaching, and to count the unending as being, overlooking the 
unoriginate rather, and assigning the palm to that which is future and 
excites hope, rather than to that which is past and stale. Seeing, I say (and 
I speak thus owing to their narrowness of spirit, and lower the discussion 
to the level of a child's conception), the past period of his life is nothing to 
him who has lived it, and all his interest is centered on the future and on 
that which can be looked forward to, that which has no end will have more 
value than that which has no beginning. So let our thoughts upon the 
divine nature be worthy and exalted ones; or else, if they are going to judge 
of it according to human tests, let the future be more valued by them than 
the past, and let them confine the being of the Deity to that, since time's 
lapse sweeps away with it all existence in the past, whereas expected 
existence gains substance from our hope. 

Now I broach these ridiculously childish suggestions as to children sitting 
in the market-place and playing; for when one looks into the groveling 
earthliness of their heretical teaching it is impossible to help falling into a 
sort of sportive childishness. It would be right, however, to add this to 
what we have said, viz., that, as the idea of eternity is completed only by 
means of both (as we have already argued), by the negation of a beginning 
and also by that of an end, if they confine God's being to the one, their 



196 

definition of this being will be manifestly imperfect and curtailed by half; 
it is thought of only by the absence of beginning, and does not contain the 
absence of end within itself as an essential element. But if they do combine 
both negations, and so complete their definition of the being of God, 
observe, again, the absurdity that is at once apparent in this view; it will 
be found, after all their efforts, to be at variance not only with the 
Only-begotten, but with itself. The case is clear and does not require much 
dwelling upon. The idea of a beginning and the idea of an end are opposed 
each to each; the meanings of each differ as widely as the other diametric 
oppositions, where there is no half-way proposition below. If any one is 
asked to define 'beginning,' he will not give a definition the same as that of 
end; but will carry his definition of it to the opposite extremity. Therefore 
also the two contraries of these will be separated from each other by the 
same distance of opposition; and that which is without beginning, being 
contrary to that which is to be seen by a beginning, will be a very different 
thing from that which is endless, or the negation of end. If, then, they 
import both these attributes into the being of God, I mean the negations of 
end and of beginning, they will exhibit this Deity of theirs as a 
combination of two contradictory and discordant things, because the 
contrary ideas to beginning and end reproduce on their side also the 
contradiction existing between beginning and end. Contraries of 
contradictories are themselves contradictory of each other. In fact, it is 
always a true axiom, that two things which are naturally opposed to two 
things mutually opposite are themselves opposed to each other; as we 
may see by example. Water is opposed to fire; therefore also the forces 
destructive of these are opposed to each other; if moistness is apt to 
extinguish fire, and dryness is apt to destroy water, the opposition of fire 
to water is continued in those qualities themselves which are contrary to 
them; so that dryness is plainly opposed to moistness. Thus, when 
beginning and end have to be placed (diametrically) opposite each other, 
the terms contrary to these also contradict each other in their meaning, I 
mean, the negations of end and of beginning. Well, then, if they determine 
that one only of these negations is indicative of the being (to repeat my 
former assertion), they will bear evidence to half only of God's existence, 
confining it to the absence of beginning, and refusing to extend it to the 
absence of end; whereas, if they import both into their definition of it, 
they will actually exhibit it so as a combination of contradictions in the 



197 

way that has been said; for these two negations of beginning and of end, 
by virtue of the contradiction existing between beginning and end, will part 
it asunder. So their Deity will be found to be a sort of patchwork 
compound, a conglomerate of contradictions. 

But there is not, neither shall there be, in the Church of God a teaching 
such as that, which can make One who is single and incomposite not only 
multiform and patchwork, but also the combination of opposites. The 
simplicity of the True Faith assumes God to be that which He is, viz., 
incapable of being grasped by any term, or any idea, or any other device of 
our apprehension, remaining beyond the reach not only of the human but 
of the angelic and of all supramundane intelligence, unthinkable, 
unutterable, above all expression in words, having but one name that can 
represent His proper nature, the single name of being 'Above every name' ; 
which is granted to the Only-begotten also, because "all that the Father 
hath is the Son's." The orthodox theory allows these words, I mean 
"Ungenerate," "Endless," to be indicative of God's eternity, but not of His 
being; so that "Ungenerate" means that no source or cause lies beyond 
Him, and "Endless" means that His kingdom will be brought to a standstill 
in no end. "Thou art the same," the prophet says, "and Thy years shall 
not fail," showing by "art" that He subsists out of no cause, and by the 
words following, that the blessedness of His life is ceaseless and unending. 

But, perhaps, some one amongst even very religious people will pause 
over these investigations of ours upon God's eternity, and say that it will 
be difficult from what we have said for the Faith in the Only-begotten to 
escape unhurt. Of two unacceptable doctrines, he will say, our account 
must inevitably be brought into contact with one. Either we shall make out 
that the Son is Ungenerate, which is absurd; or else we shall deny Him 
Eternity altogether, a denial which thatfraternity of blasphemers make 
their specialty. For if Eternity is characterized by having no beginning and 
end, it is inevitable either that we must be impious and deny the Son 
Eternity, or that we must be led in our secret thoughts about Him into the 
idea of Ungeneracy. What, then, shall we answer? That if, in conceiving of 
the Father before the Son on the single score of causation, we inserted any 
mark of time before the subsistence of the Only-begotten, the belief which 
we have in the Son's eternity might with reason be said to be endangered. 
But, as it is, the Eternal nature, equally in the case of the Father's and the 



198 

Son's life, and, as well, in what we believe about the Holy Ghost, admits 
not of the thought that it will ever cease to be; for where time is not, the 
"when" is annihilated with it. And if the Son, always appearing with the 
thought of the Father, is always found in the category of existence, what 
danger is there in owning the Eternity of the Only-begotten, Who "hath 
neither beginning of days, nor end of life." For as He is Light from Light, 
Life from Life, Good from Good, and Wise, Just, Strong, and all else in the 
same way, so most certainly is He Eternal from Eternal. 

But a lover of controversial wrangling catches up the argument, on the 
ground that such a sequence would make Him Ungenerate from 
Ungenerate. Let him, however, cool his combative heart, and insist upon 
the proper expressions, for in confessing His 'coming from the Father' he 
has banished all ideas of Ungeneracy as regards the Only -begotten; and 
there will be then no danger in pronouncing Him Eternal and yet not 
Ungen-crate. On the one hand, because the existence of the Son is not 
marked by any intervals of time, and the infinitude of His life flows back 
before the ages and onward beyond them in an all-pervading tide, He is 
properly addressed with the title of Eternal; again, on the other hand, 
because the thought of Him as Son in fact and title gives us the thought of 
the Father as inalienably joined to it, He thereby stands clear of an 
ungenerate existence being imputed to Him, while He is always with a 
Father Who always is, as those inspired words of our Master expressed it, 
"bound by way of generation to His Father's Ungeneracy." Our account 
of the Holy Ghost will be the same also; the difference is only in the place 
assigned in order. For as the Son is bound to the Father, and, while 
deriving existence from Him, is not substantially after Him, so again the 
Holy Spirit is in touch with the Only-begotten, Who is conceived of as 
before the Spirit's subsistence only in the theoretical light of a cause. 
Extensions in time find no admittance in the Eternal Life; so that, when we 
have removed the thought of cause, the Holy Trinity in no single way 
exhibits discord with itself; and to It is glory due. 

NOTE ON 'AyevvriTot; (Ungenerate). 

THE difference between the Father and the Son is contained in this one 
word. But what Gregory and what Eunomius make of that difference 
illustrates the gulf fixed between the Catholic Faith and Arianism. 



199 

Gregory shows (I.e. Book I. c. 33, P. 78, viii. 5 (ad fin.), ix. 2) how the 
Son as well as the Father can be called ocvocp%oc; (unoriginate or 
beginningless), i.e. when the ideas of time and creation are brought in; but 
the Son can never be called Ungenerate. But he goes no further than this. 
No word can express the being of God. Gregory repeatedly maintains that 
He is incomprehensible. 'Ungenerate' and 'Father' only express a relation 
of His being (a%ei;iKf| evvoioc): but of the two the latter is preferable, as 
Scriptural, and as lending no handle to the interpretation which from its 
mere form could be put upon the other. 

Eunomius did actually put this interpretation upon it, and it became the 
watchword of his system. He made of it what many now make of the 
word 'Infinite.' He saw in it the expression of a positive idea which 
enabled the mind to comprehend the Deity, and at the same time by virtue 
of the logical opposition between ungenerate and generate destroyed not 
only the equality but also the likeness of the Father and the Son. As in all 
other dichotomies arising from privative terms (i.e. Imperishable, 
Unending, Uncreate, etc.), the Trinity stands apart from creation, so in 
this last dichotomy the First Person stands apart from the Second and the 
Third. It was the only distinction of this sort that Arianism could seize on 
for its purpose: and so this one ('Ayevvr|TO<;) is hypostatized and deified. 

Gregory, to destroy the tyranny of a word, shows that all the conceivable 
attributes of Deity (the Tt^ripcouxx of the New Testament) are still above 
the distinction of Ungenerate and Generate Deity, and are present in both: 
just as human nature was present equally in the 'not-born' Adam, and the 
'born' Abel. Christ is Very God of Very God, Light of Light, Life of Life, 
and all else, ethical or spiritual, that Scripture or human intuition has ever 
attributed to God: only He is not Ungenerate of Ungenerate: and For the 
simple reason that the Generate cannot be its own opposite. But this 
distinction is simply dynamic, not spiritual; and in person, not in essence. 

It will be clear from this that 'Ungenerate' is the only adequate equivalent 
of 'Ayevvr|TO<;, as used in this controversy. 'Not-begotten' or 
'Unbegotten' as applicable to the Father only would confuse the doctrine 
of the Third Person, Who is Himself also 'not made, nor created, nor 
begotten.' Tngenerate' is not supported by the Latin use (though ingenitus 
is used thus by Arnobius); 'Unoriginate' bears the sense of unbeginning, 



200 

and can be said of the Son (see above). Lastly, 'Not-generated' does not 
furnish a corresponding idiomatic expression for 'AyevvnGioc. 

With regard to the form of the Greek word, "it is very well known," says 
Bull, Def. Fid. Nic. ii. 296, "that by the Greeks the words yevrycoc; and 
yevvx6<; are used promiscuously; although the Catholic writers of the 
Church for the most part, especially such as lived after the third century, 
distinguished more accurately between them, in the question of the 
divinity of the Son;" but Lightfoot (Ignatius, vol. 2. p. 90 ff. 2nd edit.) has 
shewn by many citations that such writers always felt the distinction 
between 6cyevvr|TO<; and ayevrrrat;. Thus Ayevnroi; (unmade), but not 
'Ayevvr|TO<;, could be applied to the Son. But the instances in which the 
one word has been miswritten or misprinted for the other are too 
numerous to mention. Of course the contemporary philosophy could not 
enter into this distinction: still it is worth noticing that Plotinus uses 
ayevvrycot; of the Supreme Being: Ennead V. iii. (p. 517); and Celsus the 
Neoplatonist uses it of his eternal world (Origen, c. Cels. according to the 
text of the Philocalia, i.e. the edition of Basil and Greg. Naz.). 



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BOOK II 



1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the faith 

delivered by the Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the heretics who endeavor 

to overthrow this faith and devise other additional names are of their father the 

devil. 

The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord 
has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by 
men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, 
the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by 
nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared 
our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin. He was like us 
in all things, in that He took upon Him manhood in its entirety with soul 
and body, so that our salvation was accomplished by means of both: — 
He, I say, appeared on earth and "conversed with men," that men might no 
longer have opinions according to their own notions about the 
Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from 
vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been 
manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true "mystery of 
godliness," which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by 
Himself spoke to His Apostles, and that we might receive the teaching 
concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it 
were, "through a glass darkly" from the older Scriptures, — from the Law, 
and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth 
fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which 
have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the 
whole Scriptures, which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, 
in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the 
words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety. We believe, 
then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, 
"Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This is the word of the mystery whereby 
through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the 
corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from "the old man," 



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"according to the image of Him who created" at the beginning the likeness 
to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the 
Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, 
knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance 
by dishonest quibbling, the same "is of his father the devil," who leaves 
the words of truth and "speaks of his own," becoming the father of a lie. 
For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is 
assuredly false and not true. 

2. Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the 

Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Since then this doctrine is put forth by the Truth itself, it follows that 
anything which the inventors of pestilent heresies devise besides to 
subvert this Divine utterance, — as, for example, calling the Father 
"Maker" and "Creator" of the Son instead of "Father," and the Son a 
"result," a "creature," a "product," instead of "Son," and the Holy Spirit 
the "creature of a creature," and the "product of a product," instead of His 
proper title the "Spirit," and whatever those who fight against God are 
pleased to say of Him, — all such fancies we term a denial and violation of 
the Godhead revealed to us in this doctrine. For once for all we have 
learned from the Lord, through Whom comes the transformation of our 
nature from mortality to immortality, — from Him, I say, we have learned 
to what we ought to look with the eyes of our understanding, — that is, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We say that it is a terrible and 
soul-destroying thing to misinterpret these Divine utterances and to devise 
in their stead assertions to subvert them, — assertions pretending to 
correct God the Word, Who appointed that we should maintain these 
statements as part of our faith. For each of these titles understood in its 
natural sense becomes for Christians a rule of truth and a law of piety. For 
while there are many other names by which Deity is indicated in the 
Historical Books, in the Prophets and in the Law, our Master Christ 
passes by all these and commits to us these titles as better able to bring us 
to the faith about the Self-Existent, declaring that it suffices us to cling to 
the title, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," in order to attain to the 
apprehension of Him Who is absolutely Existent, Who is one and yet not 
one. In regard to essence He is one, wherefore the Lord ordained that we 
should look to one Name: but in regard to the attributes indicative of the 



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Persons, our belief in Him is distinguished into belief in the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost; He is divided without separation, and united 
without confusion. For when we hear the title "Father" we apprehend the 
meaning to be this, that the name is not understood with reference to itself 
alone, but also by its special signification indicates the relation to the Son. 
For the term "Father" would have no meaning apart by itself, if "Son" 
were not connoted by the utterance of the word "Father." When, then, we 
learnt the name "Father" we were taught at the same time, by the selfsame 
title, faith also in the Son. Now since Deity by its very nature is 
permanently and immutably the same in all that pertains to its essence, 
nor did it at any time fail to be anything that it now is, nor will it at any 
future time be anything that it now is not, and since He Who is the very 
Father was named Father by the Word, and since in the Father the Son is 
implied, — since these things are so, we of necessity believe that He Who 
admits no change or alteration in His nature was always entirely what He 
is now, or, if there is anything which He was not, that He assuredly is not 
now. Since then He is named Father by the very Word, He assuredly 
always was Father, and is and will be even as He was. For surely it is not 
lawful in speaking of the Divine and unimpaired Essence to deny that 
what is excellent always belonged to It. For if He was not always what He 
now is, He certainly changed either from the better to the worse or from 
the worse to the better, and of these assertions the impiety is equal either 
way, whichever statement is made concerning the Divine nature. But in 
fact the Deity is incapable of change and alteration. So, then, everything 
that is excellent and good is always contemplated in the fountain of 
excellency. But "the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the 
Father" is excellent, and beyond all excellency: — mark you, He says, 
"Who is in the bosom of the Father," not "Who came to be" there. 

Well then, it has been demonstrated by these proofs that the Son is from 
all eternity to be contemplated in the Father, in Whom He is, being Life 
and Light and Truth, and every noble name and conception — to say that 
the Father ever existed by Himself apart from these attributes is a piece of 
the utmost impiety and infatuation. For if the Son, as the Scripture saith, 
is the Power of God, and Wisdom, and Truth, and Light, and 
Sanctification, and Peace, and Life, and the like, then before the Son 
existed, according to the view of the heretics, these things also had no 



204 

existence at all. And if these things had no existence they must certainly 
conceive the bosom of the Father to have been devoid of such excellences. 
To the end, then, that the Father might not be conceived as destitute of the 
excellences which are His own, and that the doctrine might not run wild 
into this extravagance, the right faith concerning the Son is necessarily 
included in our Lord's utterance with the contemplation of the eternity of 
the Father. And for this reason He passes over all those names which are 
employed to indicate the surpassing excellence of the Divine nature, and 
delivers to us as part of our profession of faith the title of "Father" as 
better suited to indicate the truth, being a title which, as has been said, by 
its relative sense connotes with itself the Son, while the Son, Who is in the 
Father, always is what He essentially is, as has been said already, because 
the Deity by Its very nature does not admit of augmentation. For It does 
not perceive any other good outside of Itself, by participation in which It 
could acquire any accession, but is always immutable, neither casting away 
what It has, nor acquiring what It has not: for none of Its properties are 
such as to be cast away. And if there is anything whatsoever blessed, 
unsullied, true and good, associated with Him and in Him, we see of 
necessity that the good and holy Spirit must belong to Him, not by way of 
accretion. That Spirit is indisputably a princely Spirit, a quickening Spirit, 
the controlling and sanctifying force of all creation, the Spirit that 
"worketh all in all" as He wills. Thus we conceive no gap between the 
anointed Christ and His anointing, between the King and His sovereignty, 
between Wisdom and the Spirit of Wisdom, between Truth and the Spirit 
of Truth, between Power and the Spirit of Power, but as there is 
contemplated from all eternity in the Father the Son, Who is Wisdom and 
Truth, and Counsel, and Might, and Knowledge, and Understanding, so 
there is also contemplated in Him the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of 
Wisdom, and of Truth, and of Counsel, and of Understanding, and all else 
that the Son is and is called. For which reason we say that to the holy 
disciples the mystery of godliness was committed in a form expressing at 
once union and distinction, — that we should believe on the Name of the 
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. For the differentiation of 
the subsistences makes the distinction of Persons clear and free from 
confusion, while the one Name standing in the forefront of the declaration 
of the Faith clearly expounds to us the unity of essence of the Persons 
Whom the Faith declares, — I mean, of the Father, and of the Son, and of 



205 

the Holy Spirit. For by these appellations we are taught not a difference of 
nature, but only the special attributes that mark the subsistences, so that 
we know that neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the 
Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son, and recognize each by the 
distinctive mark of His Personal Subsistence, in illimitable perfection, at 
once contemplated by Himself and not divided from that with Which He is 
connected. 

3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of the unnamable name of the 

Holy Trinity and the mutual relation of the 

Persons, and moreover the unknowable character of the 

Essence, arid the condescension on His part towards us, His generation of the 

Virgin, and His second coming, the 

resurrection from the dead and future retribution. 

What then means that unnamable name concerning which the Lord said, 
"Baptizing them into the name," and did not add the actual significant term 
which "the name" indicates? We have concerning it this notion, that all 
things that exist in the creation are defined by means of their several 
names. Thus whenever a man speaks of "heaven" he directs the notion of 
the hearer to the created object indicated by this name, and he who 
mentions "man" or some animal, at once by the mention of the name 
impresses upon the hearer the form of the creature, and in the same way 
all other things, by means of the names imposed upon them, are depicted 
in the heart of him who by hearing receives the appellation imposed upon 
the thing. The uncreated Nature alone, which we acknowledge in the 
Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, surpasses all significance of 
names. For this cause the Word, when He spoke of "the name" in 
delivering the Faith, did not add what it is, — for how could a name be 
found for that which is above every name? — but gave authority that 
whatever name our intelligence by pious effort be enabled to discover to 
indicate the transcendent Nature, that name should be applied alike to 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be "the Good" or "the 
Incorruptible," whatever name each may think proper to be employed to 
indicate the undefiled Nature of Godhead. And by this deliverance the 
Word seems to me to lay down for us this law, that we are to be 
persuaded that the Divine Essence is ineffable and incomprehensible: for it 
is plain that the title of Father does not present to us the Essence, but 
only indicates the relation to the Son. It follows, then, that if it were 



206 

possible for human nature to be taught the essence of God, He "Who will 
have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" would 
not have suppressed the knowledge upon this matter But as it is, by 
saying nothing concerning the Divine Essence, He showed that the 
knowledge thereof is beyond our power, while when we have learnt that of 
which we are capable, we stand in no need of the knowledge beyond our 
capacity, as we have in the profession of faith in the doctrine delivered to 
us what suffices for our salvation. For to learn that He is the absolutely 
existent, together with Whom, by the relative force of the term, there is 
also declared the majesty of the Son, is the fullest teaching of godliness; 
the Son, as has been said, implying in close union with Himself the Spirit 
of Life and Truth, inasmuch as He is Himself Life and Truth. 

These distinctions being thus established, while we anathematize all 
heretical fancies in the sphere of divine doctrines, we believe, even as we 
were taught by the voice of the Lord, in the Name of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledging together with this faith also the 
dispensation that has been set on foot on behalf of men by the Lord of the 
creation. For He "being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be 
equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him 
the form of a servant," and being incarnate in the Holy Virgin redeemed us 
from death "in which we were held," "sold under sin," giving as the 
ransom for the deliverance of our souls His precious blood which He 
poured out by His Cross, and having through Himself made clear for us 
the path of the resurrection from the dead, shall come in His own time in 
the glory of the Father to judge every soul in righteousness, when "all that 
are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have 
done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto 
the resurrection of damnation." But that the pernicious heresy that is now 
being sown broadcast by Eunomius may not, by falling upon the mind of 
some of the simpler sort and being left without investigation, do harm to 
guileless faith, we are constrained to set forth the profession which they 
circulate and to strive to expose the mischief of their teaching. 

4. He next skillfully confutes the partial, empty and blasphemous statement of 
Eunomius on the subject of the absolutely existent. 



207 

Now the wording of their doctrine is as follows: "We believe in the one 
and only true God, according to the teaching of the Lord Himself, not 
honoring Him with a lying title (for He cannot lie), but really existent, one 
God in nature and in glory, who is without beginning, eternally, without 
end, alone." Let not him who professes to believe in accordance with the 
teaching of the Lord pervert the exposition of the faith that was made 
concerning the Lord of all to suit his own fancy, but himself follow the 
utterance of the truth. Since then, the expression of the Faith comprehends 
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, what 
agreement has this construction of theirs to show with the utterances of 
the Lord, so as to refer such a doctrine to the teaching of those utterances? 
They cannot manage to show where in the Gospels the Lord said that we 
should believe on "the one and only true God:" unless they have some 
new Gospel. For the Gospels which are read in the churches continuously 
from ancient times to the present day, do not contain this saying which 
tells us that we should believe in or baptize into "the one and only true 
God," as these people say, but "in the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Ghost." But as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, 
this we say, that the word "one" does not indicate the Father alone, but 
comprehends in its significance the Son with the Father, inasmuch as the 
Lord said, "I and My Father are one." In like manner also the name "God" 
belongs equally to the Beginning in which the Word was, and to the Word 
Who was in the Beginning. For the Evangelist tells us that "the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God." So that when Deity is expressed the 
Son is included no less than the Father. Moreover, the true cannot be 
conceived as something alien from and unconnected with the truth. But 
that the Lord is the Truth no one at all will dispute, unless he be one 
estranged from the truth. If, then, the Word is in the One, and is God and 
Truth, as is proclaimed in the Gospels, on what teaching of the Lord does 
be base his doctrine who makes use of these distinctive terms? For the 
antithesis is between "only" and "not only," between "God" and "no 
God," between "true" and "untrue." If it is with respect to idols that they 
make their distinction of phrases, we too agree. For the name of "deity" is 
given, in an equivocal sense, to the idols of the heathen, seeing that "all the 
gods of the heathen are demons," and in another sense marks the contrast 
of the one with the many, of the true with the false, of those who are not 
Gods with Him who is God. But if the contrast is one with the 



208 

Only-begotten God, let our sages learn that truth has its opposite only in 
falsehood, and God in one who is not God. But inasmuch as the Lord Who 
is the Truth is God, and is in the Father and is one relatively to the Father, 
there is no room in the true doctrine for these distinctions of phrases. For 
he who truly believes in the One sees in the One Him Who is completely 
united with Him in truth, and deity, and essence, and life, and wisdom, and 
in all attributes whatsoever: or, if he does not see in the One Him Who is 
all these it is in nothing that he believes. For without the Son the Father 
has neither existence nor name, any more than the Powerful without 
Power, or the Wise without Wisdom. For Christ is "the Power of God and 
the Wisdom of God;" so that he who imagines he sees the One God apart 
from power, truth, wisdom, life, or the true light, either sees nothing at all 
or else assuredly that which is evil. For the withdrawal of the good 
attributes becomes a positing and origination of evil. 

"Not honoring Him," he says, "with a lying title, for He cannot lie." By 
that phrase I pray that Eunomius may abide, and so hear witness to the 
truth that it cannot lie. For if he would be of this mind, that everything 
that is uttered by the Lord is far removed from falsehood, he will of course 
be persuaded that He speaks the truth Who says, "I am in the Father, and 
the Father in Me," — plainly, the One in His entirety, in the Other in His 
entirety, the Father not superabounding in the Son, the Son not being 
deficient in the Father, — and Who says also that the Son should be 
honored as the Father is honored, and "He that hath seen Me hath seen the 
Father," and "no man knoweth the Father save the Son," in all which 
passages there is no hint given to those who receive these declarations as 
genuine, of any variation s of glory, or of essence, or anything else, 
between the Father and the Son. 

"Really existent," he says, "one God in nature and in glory." Real 
existence is opposed to unreal existence. Now each of existing things is 
really existent in so far as it is; but that which, so far as appearance and 
suggestion go, seems to be, but is not, this is not really existent, as for 
example an appearance in a dream or a man in a picture. For these and such 
like things, though they exist so far as appearance is concerned, have not 
real existence. If then they maintain, in accordance with the Jewish 
opinion, that the Only-begotten God does not exist at all, they are right in 
predicating real existence of the Father alone. But if they do not deny the 



209 

existence of the Maker of all things, let them be content not to deprive of 
real existence Him Who is, Who in the Divine appearance to Moses gave 
Himself the name of Existent, when He said, "I am that I am:" even as 
Eunomius in his later argument agrees with this, saying that it was He 
Who appeared to Moses. Then he says that God is "one in nature and in 
glory." Whether God exists without being by nature God, he who uses 
these words may perhaps know: but if it be true that he who is not by 
nature God is not God at all, let them learn from the great Paul that they 
who serve those who are not Gods do not serve God." But we "serve the 
living and true God," as the Apostle says: and He Whom we serve is Jesus 
the Christ. For Him the Apostle Paul even exults in serving, saying, "Paul, 
a servant of Jesus Christ." We then, who no longer serve them which by 
nature are no Gods, have come to the knowledge of Him Who by nature is 
God, to Whom every knee boweth "of things in heaven and things in earth 
and things under the earth." But we should not have been His servants had 
we not believed that this is the living and true God, to Whom "every 
tongue maketh confession that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the 
Father." 

"God," he says, "Who is without beginning, eternally, without end, 
alone." Once more "understand, ye simple ones," as Solomon says, "his 
subtlety," lest haply ye be deceived and fall headlong into the denial of the 
Godhead of the Only-begotten Son. That is without end which admits not 
of death and decay: that, likewise, is called everlasting which is not only 
for a time. That, therefore, which is neither everlasting nor without end is 
surely seen in the nature which is perishable and mortal. Accordingly he 
who predicates "unendingness" of the one and only God, and does not 
include the Son in the assertion of "unendingness" and "eternity," 
maintains by such a proposition, that He Whom be thus contrasts with 
tire eternal and unending is perishable and temporary. But we, even when 
we are told that God "only hath immortality," understand by 
"immortality" the Son. For life is immortality, and the Lord is that life, 
Who said, "I am the Life." And if He be said to dwell "in the light that no 
man can approach unto," again we make no difficulty in understanding that 
the true Light, unapproachable by falsehood, is the Only-begotten, in 
Whom we learn from the Truth itself that the Father is. Of these opinions 
let the reader choose the more devout, whether we are to think of the 



210 

Only -begotten in a manner worthy of the Godhead, or to call Him, as 
heresy prescribes, perishable and temporary. 

5. He next marvelously overthrows the unintelligible statements of Eunomius 
which assert that the essence of the Father is not separated or divided, and does 

not become anything else. 

"We believe in God," he tells us," not separated as regards the essence 
wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and 
sometimes another, or changing from being what He is, or passing from 
one essence to assume the guise of a threefold personality for He is always 
and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God." 
From these citations the discreet reader may well separate first of all the 
idle words inserted in the statement without any meaning from those 
which appear to have some sense, and afterwards examine the meaning 
that is discoverable in what remains of his statement, to ascertain whether 
it is compatible with due reverence towards Christ. 

The first, then, of the statements cited is completely divorced from any 
intelligible meaning, good or bad. For what sense there is in the words, 
"not separated, as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than 
one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from 
being what He is," Eunomius himself could not tell us, and I do not think 
that any of his allies could find in the words any shadow of meaning. 
When he speaks of Him as "not separated in regard to the essence wherein 
He is one," he says either that He is not separated from His own essence, 
or that His own essence is not divided from Him. This unmeaning 
statement is nothing but a random combination of noise and empty sound. 
And why should one spend time in the investigation of these meaningless 
expressions? For how does any one remain in existence when separated 
from his own essence? or how is the essence of anything divided and 
displayed apart? Or how is it possible for one to depart from that wherein 
he is, and become another, getting outside himself? But he adds, "not 
passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons: for He is 
always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the 
only God." I think the absence of meaning in his statement is plain to 
every one without a word from me: against this let any one argue who 
thinks there is any sense or meaning in what he says: he who has an eye to 
discern the force of words will decline to involve himself in a struggle with 



211 

unsubstantial shadows. For what force has it against our doctrine to say 
"not separated or divided into more than one as regards the essence 
wherein He is one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or 
passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons?" — things 
that are neither said nor believed by Christians nor understood by 
inference from the truths we confess. For who ever said or heard any one 
else say in the Church of God, that the Father is either separated or 
divided as regards His essence, or becomes sometimes one, sometimes 
another, coming to be outside Himself, or assumes the guise of three 
persons? These things Eunomius says to himself, not arguing with us but 
stringing together his own trash, mixing with the impiety of his utterances 
a great deal of absurdity. For we say that it is equally impious and 
ungodly to call the Lord of the creation a created being and to think that 
the Father, in that He is, is separated or split up, or departs from Himself, 
or assumes the guise of three persons, like clay or wax molded in various 
shapes. 

But let us examine the words that follow: "He is always and absolutely 
one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God." If he is 
speaking about the Father, we agree with him, for the Father is most truly 
one, alone and always absolutely uniform dud unchangeable, never at any 
time present or future ceasing to be what He is. If then such an assertion 
as this has regard to the Father, let him not contend with the doctrine of 
godliness, inasmuch as on this point he is in harmony with the Church. 
For he who confesses that the Father is always and unchangeably the 
same, being one and only God, holds fast the word of godliness, if in the 
Father he sees the Son, without Whom the Father neither is nor is named. 
But if he is inventing some other God besides the Father, let him dispute 
with the Jews or with those who are called Hypsistiani, between whom 
and the Christians there is this difference, that they acknowledge that there 
is a God Whom they term the Highest or Almighty, but do not admit that 
he is Father; while a Christian, if he believe not in the Father, is no 
Christian at all. 

6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the gather and Eunomius' lack of 
understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures. 



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What he adds next after this is as follows: -"Having no sharer," he says, "in 
His Godhead, no divider of His glory, none who has lot in His power, or 
part in His royal throne: for He is the one and only God, the Almighty, 
God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords." I know not to whom 
Eunomius refers when he protests that the Father admits none to share 
His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses such expressions with reference 
to vain idols and to the erroneous conceptions of those who worship them 
(even as Paul assures us that there is no agreement between Christ and 
Belial, and no fellowship between the temple of God and idols) we agree 
with him. But if by these assertions he means to sever the Only-begotten 
God from the Godhead of the Father, let him be informed that he is 
providing us with a dilemma that may be turned against himself to refute 
his own impiety. For either he denies the Only-begotten God to be God at 
all, that he may preserve for the Father those prerogatives of deity which 
(according to him) are incapable of being shared with the Son, and thus is 
convicted as a transgressor by denying the God Whom Christians 
worship, or if he were to grant that the Son also is God, yet not agreeing in 
nature with the true God, he would be necessarily obliged to acknowledge 
that he maintains Gods sundered from one another by the difference of 
their natures. Let him choose which of these he will, — either to deny the 
Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For 
whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who 
are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words 
of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership 
of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord hath taught us this by His 
own words, when He saith, "I and the Father are one," and "he that hath 
seen Me hath seen the Father." For if He were not of the same nature as 
the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was 
different? or how could He have shown in Himself that which was unlike, 
if the foreign and alien nature did not receive the stamp of that which was 
of a different kind from itself? But he says, "nor has He a divider of His 
glory." Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, even though he does 
not know what he is saying: for the Son does not divide the glory with the 
Father, but has the glory of the Father in its entirety, even as the Father 
has all the glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the Father "All Mine are 
Thine and Thine are Mine." Wherefore also He says that He will appear 
on the Judgment Day "in the glory of the Father," when He will render to 



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every man according to his works. And by this phrase He shows the unity 
of nature that subsists between them. For as "there is one glory of the sun 
and another glory of the moon," because of the difference between the 
natures of those luminaries (since if both had the same glory there would 
not be deemed to be any difference in their nature), so He Who foretold of 
Himself that He would appear in the glory of the Father indicated by the 
identity of glory their community of nature. 

But to say that the Son has no part in His Father's royal throne argues an 
extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of 
Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has 
not yet heard, "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on 
the right hand of God," and many similar passages, of which it would not 
be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learnt, 
and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father. Again the 
phrase, "not having lot in his power," we should rather pass by as 
unmeaning than confute as ungodly. For what sense is attached to the term 
"having lot" is not easy to discover from the common use of the word. 
Those cast lots, as the Scripture tells us, for the Lord's vesture, who were 
unwilling to rend His garment, but disposed to make it over to that one of 
their number in whose favor the lot should decide. They then who thus 
cast lots among themselves for the "coat" may be said, perhaps, to "have 
had lot" in it. But here in the case of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, inasmuch as Their power resides in Their nature (for the Holy 
Spirit breathes "where He listeth," and "worketh all in all as He will," and 
the Son, by Whom all things were made, visible and invisible, in heaven 
and in earth, "did all things whatsoever He pleased," and "quickeneth 
whom He will," and the Father put "the times in His own powers," while 
from the mention of "times" we conclude that all things done in time are 
subject to the power I of the Father), if, I say, it has been demonstrated 
that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alike are in a position of 
power to do what They will, it is impossible to see what sense there can 
be in the phrase "having lot in His power." For the heir of all things, the 
maker of the ages, He Who shines with the Father' s glory and expresses in 
Himself the Father's person, has all things that the Father Himself has, 
and is possessor of all His power, not that the right is transferred from the 
Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in 



214 

the Son. For He Who is in the Father is manifestly in the Father with all 
His own might, and He Who has the Father in Himself includes all the 
power and might of the Father. For He has in Himself all the Father, and 
not merely a part of Him: and He Who has Him entirely assuredly has His 
power as well. With what meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father 
has "none who has lot in His power," those perhaps can tell who are 
disciples of his folly one who knows how to appreciate language confesses 
that he cannot understand phrases divorced from meaning. The Father, he 
says, "has none Who has lot in His power." Why, who is there that says 
that the Father and Son contend together for power and cast lots to decide 
the matter? But the holy Eunomius comes as mediator between them and 
by a friendly agreement without lot assigns to the Father the superiority in 
power. 

Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and childishness of this groveling 
exposition of his articles of faith. What! He Who "upholds all things by 
the word of His power," Who says what He wills to be done, and does 
what He wills by the very power of that command, He Whose power lags 
not behind His will and Whose will is the measure of His power (for "He 
spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were 
created 6"), He Who made all things by Himself, and made them consist in 
Himself, without Whom no existing thing either came into being or remains 
in being, — He it is Who waits to obtain His power by some process of 
allotment! Judge you who hear whether the man who talks like this is in 
his senses. "For He is the one and only God, the Almighty," he says. If by 
the title of "Almighty" he intends the Father, the language he uses is ours, 
and no strange language: but if he means some other God than the Father, 
let our patron of Jewish doctrines preach circumcision too, if he pleases. 
For the Faith of Christians is directed to the Father. And the Father is all 
these — Highest, Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in a 
word all terms of highest significance are proper to the Father. But all that 
is the Father's is the Son's also; so that, on this understanding, we admit 
this phrase too. But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another Almighty, 
he is speaking the language of the Jews or following the speculations of 
Plato, -for they say that that philosopher also affirms that there exists on 
high a maker and creator of certain subordinate gods. As then in the case of 
the Jewish and Platonic opinions he who does not believe in God the 



215 

Father is not a Christian, even though in his creed he asserts an Almighty 
God, so Eunomius also falsely pretends to the name of Christian, being in 
inclination a Jew, or asserting the doctrines of the Greeks while putting on 
the guise of the title borne by Christians. And with regard to the next 
points he asserts the same account will apply. He says He is "God of 
Gods." We make the declaration our own by adding the name of the 
Father, knowing that the Father is God of Gods. But all that belongs to the 
Father certainly belongs also to the Son. "And Lord of Lords." The same 
account will apply to this. "And Most High over all the earth." Yes, for 
whichever of the Three Persons you are thinking of, He is Most High over 
all the earth, inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things from on high is 
exercised alike by the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, 
with what follows the words above, "Most High in the heavens, Most 
High in the highest, Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so continuing, 
true in words, true in works." Why, all these things the Christian eye 
discerns alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If Eunomius 
does assign them to one only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, let 
him dare to call Him "not true in words" Who has said, "I am the Truth," 
or to call the Spirit of truth "not true in words," or let him refuse to give 
the title of "true in works" to Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, 
or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He will. For if he does not 
acknowledge that these attributes belong to the Persons delivered to us in 
the creed, he is absolutely canceling the creed of Christians. For how shall 
any one think Him a worthy object of faith Who is false in words and 
untrue in works. 

But let us proceed to what follows. "Above all rule, subjection and 
authority," he says. This language is ours, and belongs properly to the 
Catholic Church, — to believe that the Divine nature is above all rule, and 
that it has in subordination to itself everything that can be conceived 
among existing things. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost 
constitute the Divine nature. If he assigns this property to the Father 
alone, and if he affirms Him alone to be free from variableness and change, 
and if he says that He alone is undefiled, the inference that we are meant to 
draw is plain, namely, that He who has not these characteristics is 
variable, corruptible, subject to change and decay. This, then, is what 
Eunomius asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit: for if he did not hold this 



216 

opinion concerning the Son and the Spirit, he would not have employed 
this opposition, contrasting the Father with them. For the rest, brethren, 
judge whether, with these sentiments, he is not a persecutor of the 
Christian faith. For who will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting 
object of reverence which varies, changes, and is subject to decay? So then 
the whole aim of one who flames such notions as these, — notions by 
which he makes out that neither the Truth nor the Spirit of Truth is 
undefiled, unvarying, or unchangeable, — is to expel from the Church the 
belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. 

7. Gregory further shows that the Only-begotten being begotten not only of the 

Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the 

substance; seeing that neither is the nature of then divided or severed from the 

parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of 

Adam and Abraham. 

And now let us see what he adds to his previous statements. "Not 
dividing," he says, "His own essence by begetting, and being at once 
begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is 
incorruptible." Of such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which the 
prophet says, touching the ungodly, "They weave a spider's web." For as 
in the cobweb there is the appearance of something woven, but no 
substantiality in the appearance, — for he who touches it touches nothing 
substantial, as the spider's threads break with the touch of a finger, — just 
such is the unsubstantial texture of idle phrases. "Not dividing His own 
essence by begetting and being at once begetter and begotten." Ought we to 
give his words the name of argument, or to call them rather a swelling of 
humors secreted by some dropsical inflation? For what is the sense of 
"dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and 
begotten?" Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to make the 
statement against which Eunomius thinks he is doing battle? For the 
Church believes that the true Father is truly Father of His own Son, as the 
Apostle says, not of a Son alien from Him. For thus he declares in one of 
his Epistles, "Who spared not His own Son," distinguishing Him, by the 
addition of "own," from those who are counted worthy of the adoption of 
sons by grace and not by nature. But what says He who disparages this 
belief of ours? "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, or being at 
once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is 
incorruptible." Does one who hears in the Gospel that the Word was in 



217 

the beginning, and was God, and that the Word came forth from the 
Father, so befoul the undefiled doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, 
saying "He does not divide His essence by begetting?" Shame on the 
abomination of these base and filthy notions! How is it that he who 
speaks thus fails to understand that God when manifested in flesh did not 
admit for the formation of His own body the conditions of human nature, 
but was born for us a Child by the Holy Ghost and the power of the 
Highest; nor was the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was the Spirit 
diminished, nor the power of the Highest divided? For the Spirit is entire, 
the power of the Highest remained undiminished: the Child was born in 
the fullness of our nature, and did not sully the incorruption of His 
mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without carnal passion: yet 
Eunomius will not admit that the brightness of the glory is from the glory 
itself, since the glory is neither diminished nor divided by begetting the 
light. Again, the word of man is generated from his mind without division, 
but God the Word cannot be generated from the Father without the 
essence of the Father being divided! Is any one so witless as not to 
perceive the irrational character of his position? "Not dividing," quoth he, 
"His own essence by begetting." Why, whose own essence is divided by 
begetting? For in the case of men essence means human nature: in the case 
of brutes, it means, generically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, 
sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is regarded according to the 
distinctions of their kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own essence 
by the process of generation? Does not the nature always remain 
undiminished in the case of every animal by the succession of its 
posterity? Further a man in begetting a man from himself does not divide 
his nature, but it remains in its fullness alike in him who begets and in him 
who is begotten, not split off and transferred from the one to the other, 
nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed in the other, but at once 
existing in its entirety in the former and discoverable in its entirety in the 
latter. For both before begetting his child the man was a rational animal, 
mortal, capable of intelligence and knowledge, and also after be-getting a 
man endowed with such qualities: so that in him are shown all the special 
properties of his nature; as he does not lose his existence as a man by 
begetting the man derived from him, but remains after that event what he 
was before without causing any diminution of the nature derived from him 
by the fact that the man derived from him comes into being. 



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Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature of the begetter is not divided. 
Yet Eunomius does not admit that the Only-begotten God, Who is in the 
bosom of the Father, is truly of the Father, for fear forsooth, lest he 
should mutilate the inviolable nature of the Father by the subsistence of 
the Only-begotten: but after saying "Not dividing His essence by 
begetting," be adds, "Or being Himself begetter and begotten, or Himself 
becoming Father and Son," and thinks by such loose disjointed phrases to 
undermine the true confession of godliness or to furnish some support to 
his own ungodliness, not being aware that by the very means he uses to 
construct a reductio ad absurdum he is discovered to be an advocate of the 
truth. For we too say that He who has all that belongs to His own Father 
is all that He is, save being Father, and that He who has all that belongs to 
the Son exhibits in Himself the Son in His completeness, save being Son: 
so that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius here invents, turns out 
to be a support of the truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as to 
display it more clearly, under the guidance of the Gospel. For if "he that 
hath seen the Son seeth the Fathers" then the Father begat another self, not 
passing out of Himself, and at the same time appearing in His fullness in 
Him: so that from these considerations that which seemed to have been 
uttered against godliness is demonstrated to be a support of sound 
doctrine. 

But he says, "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at 
once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is 
incorruptible." Most cogent conclusion! What do you mean, most sapient 
sir? Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does not divide His own 
essence by begetting the Son: nor does He beget Himself or be begotten of 
Himself, nor become at the same time His own Father and His own Son 
because He is incorruptible. It follows then, that if any one is of 
corruptible nature he divides his essence by begetting, and is begotten by 
himself, and begets himself, and is his own father and his own son, because 
he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then Abraham, because he was 
corruptible, did not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat himself by the 
bondwoman and by his lawful wife or, to take the other mountebank tricks 
of the argument, he divided his essence among the sons who were begotten 
of him, and first, when Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into two 
sections, and in one of the halves became Ishmael, while in the other he 



219 

remained half Abraham; and subsequently the residue of the essence of 
Abraham being again divided took subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the 
fourth part of the essence of Abraham was divided into the twin sons of 
Isaac, so that there was an eighth in each of his grandchildren! How could 
one subdivide the eighth part, cutting it small in fractions among the 
twelve Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen souls with whom 
Jacob went down into Egypt? And why do I talk thus when I really ought 
to confute the folly of such notions by beginning with the first man? For if 
it is a property of the incorruptible only not to divide its essence in 
begetting, and if Adam was corruptible, to whom the word was spoken, 
"Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," then, according to 
Eunomius' reasoning, he certainly divided his essence, being cut up among 
those who were begotten of him, and by reason of the vast number of his 
posterity (the slice of his essence which is to be found in each being 
necessarily subdivided according to the number of his progeny), the 
essence of Adam is used up before Abraham began to subsist, being 
dispersed in these minute and infinitesimal particles among the countless 
myriads of his descendants, and the minute fragment of Adam that has 
reached Abraham and his descendants by a process of division, is no 
longer discoverable in them as a remnant of his essence, inasmuch as his 
nature has been already used up among the countless myriads of those 
who were before them by its division into infinitesimal fractions. Mark the 
folly of him who "understands neither what he says nor whereof he 
affirms." For by saying "Since He is incorruptible" He neither divides His 
essence nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, he implicitly lays 
it down that we must suppose all those things from which he affirms that 
the incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to generation in the case of 
every one who is subject to corruption. Though there are many other 
considerations capable of proving the inanity of his argument, I think that 
what has been said above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. But 
this has surely been already acknowledged by all who have an eye for 
logical consistency, that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the Father 
alone, he places all things which are considered after the Father in the 
category of corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the incorruptible, so as 
to make out even the Son not to be free from corruption. If then he places 
the Son in opposition to the incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be 
corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those incidents from which he 



220 

affirms only the incorruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily follows 
that, if the Father alone neither begets Himself nor is begotten of Himself, 
everything which is not incorruptible both begets itself and is begotten of 
itself, and becomes its own father and son, shifting from its own proper 
essence to each of these relations. For if to be incorruptible belongs to the 
Father alone, and if not to be the things specified is a special property of 
the incorruptible, then, of course, according to this heretical argument, the 
Son is not incorruptible, and all these circumstances of course, find place 
about Him, — to have His essence divided, to beget Himself and to be 
begotten by Himself, to become Himself His own father and His own son. 

Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to linger long over such follies. Let 
us pass to the next point of his statement. He adds to what he had already 
said, "Not standing in need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts or 
natural instruments: for He stands in need of nothing." This proposition, 
though Eunomitts states it with a certain looseness of phrase, we yet do 
not reject as inconsistent with godly doctrine. For learning as we do that 
"He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were 
created," we know that the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very act 
also producing with the matter the qualities of matter, so that for Him the 
impulse of His almighty will was everything and instead of everything, 
matter, instrument, place, time, essence, quality, everything that is 
conceived in creation. For at one and the same time did He will that that 
which ought to be should be, and His power, that produced all things that 
are, kept pace with His will, turning His will into act. For thus the mighty 
Moses in the record of creation instructs us about the Divine power, 
ascribing the production of each of the objects that were manifested in the 
creation to the words that bade them be. For "God said," he tells us, "Let 
there be light, and there was light:" and so about the rest, without any 
mention either of matter or of any instrumental agency. Accordingly the 
language of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. For God, when 
creating all things that have their origin by creation, neither stood in need 
of any matter on which to operate, nor of instruments to aid Him in His 
construction: for the power and wisdom of God has no need of any 
external assistance. But Christ is "the Power of God and the Wisdom of 
God," by Whom all things were made and without Whom is no existent 
thing, as John testifies. If, then, all things were made by Him, both visible 



221 

and invisible, and if His will alone suffices to effect the subsistence of 
existing things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters our doctrine 
though with a loose mode of expression. For what instrument and what 
matter could He Who upholds all things by the word of His power need in 
upholding the constitution of existing things by His almighty word? But if 
he maintains that what we have believed to be true of the Only-begotten in 
the case of the creation, is true also in the case of the Son — in the sense 
that the Father created Him in like manner as the creation was made by the 
Son, — then we retract our former statement, because such a supposition 
is a denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have learnt from 
the mighty utterance of Paul that it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry 
to worship and serve the creature more than the Creator, as well as from 
David, when He says "There shall no new God be in thee: neither shalt 
thou worship any alien God." We use this line and rule to arrive at the 
discernment of the object of worship, so as to be convinced that that alone 
is God which is neither "new" nor "alien." Since then we have been taught 
to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, we acknowledge, by our 
belief that He is God, that He is neither "new" or "alien." If, then, He is 
God, He is not "new," and if He is not new, He is assuredly eternal. 
Accordingly, neither is the Eternal "new," nor is He Who is of the Father 
and in the bosom of the Father and Who has the Father in Himself "alien" 
from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son from the nature of the Father 
either absolutely disallows the worship of the Son, that he may not 
worship an alien God, or bows down before an idol, making a creature and 
not God the object of his worship, and giving to his idol the name of 
Christ. 

Now that this is the meaning to which he tends in his conception 
concerning the Only -begotten will become more plain by considering the 
language he employs touching the Only-begotten Himself, which is as 
follows. "We believe also in the Son of God, the Only-begotten God, the 
first-born of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily begotten before 
the worlds, named Son not without being begotten before He existed, 
coming into being before all creation, not uncreate." I think that the mere 
reading of his exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to render its 
impiety plain without any investigation on our part. For though he calls 
Him "first-born," yet that he may not raise any doubt in his readers' 



222 

minds as to His not being created, he immediately adds the words, "not 
uncreate," lest if the natural significance of the term "Son" were 
apprehended by his readers, any pious conception concerning Him might 
find place in their minds. It is for this reason that after at first confessing 
Him to be Son of God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at once, by 
what he adds, to pervert the minds of his readers from their devout belief 
to his heretical notions. For he who hears the titles "Son of God" and 
"Only-begotten God" is of necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of 
assertions respecting the Son, led onward by the significance of these 
terms, inasmuch as no difference of nature is introduced by the use of the 
title "God" and by the significance of the term "Son." For how could He 
Who is truly the Son of God and Himself God be conceived as something 
else differing from the nature of the Father? But that godly conceptions 
may not by these names be impressed beforehand on the hearts of his 
readers, he forthwith calls Him "the first-born of all creation, named Son, 
not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all 
creation, not uncreate." Let us linger a little while, then, over his argument, 
that the miscreant may be shown to be holding out his first statements to 
people merely as a bait to induce them to receive the poison that he sugars 
over with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were with honey. Who does 
not know how great is the difference in signification between, the term 
"only-begotten "and "first-born?" For "first-born" implies brethren, and 
"only-begotten" implies that there are no other brethren. Thus the 
"first-born" is not "only-begotten," for certainly "first-born" is the 
first-born among brethren, while he who is "only-begotten" has no 
brother: for if he were numbered among brethren he would not be 
only -begotten. And moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers of the 
first-born is, the same is the essence of the first-born himself. Nor is this 
all that is signified by the title, but also that the first-born and those born 
after him draw their being from the same source, without the first born 
contributing at all to the birth of those that come after him: so that hereby 
is maintained the falsehood of that statement of John, which affirms that 
"all things were made by Him." For if He is first-born, He differs from 
those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some 
one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to 
the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent 
ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of 



223 

Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these 
titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better. 

8. He further very appositely expounds the meaning of the term "Only-begotten," 

and of the term "First born," four times 

used by the Apostle. 

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the 
pre-eminence in all things, is the author and cause of all good, bears 
witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things 
wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed 
and vanished away, to use his own language, and another new creation was 
wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is 
Himself the first-born of all that new creation of men which is effected by 
the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus 
divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this 
term, once as here, calling Him, "first-born of all creation," another time, 
"the first-born among many brethren," again, "first-born from the dead," 
and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without 
combining it with other words, saying, "But when again He bringeth the 
first-born into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship 
Him." Accordingly whatever view we entertain concerning this title in the 
other combinations, the same we shall in consistency apply to the phrase 
"first-born of all creation." For since the title is one and the same it must 
needs be that the meaning conveyed is also one. In what sense then does 
He become "the first-born among many brethren?" in what sense does He 
become "the first-born from the dead?" Assuredly this is plain, that 
because we are by birth flesh and blood, as the Scripture saith, "He Who 
for our sakes was born among us and was partaker of flesh and blood," 
purposing to change us from corruption to incorruption by the birth from 
above, the birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, 
drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so 
that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually 
born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth 
like to His own by water and the Spirit. But since it was also meet that He 
should implant in our nature the power of rising again from the dead, He 
becomes the "first-fruits of them that slept " and the "first-born from the 
dead," in that He first by His own act loosed the pains of death, so that 



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His new birth from the dead was made a way for us also, since the pains 
of death, wherein we were held, were loosed by the resurrection of the 
Lord. Thus, just as by having shared in the washing of regeneration He 
became "the first-born among many brethren," and again by having made 
Himself the first-fruits of the resurrection, He obtains the name of the 
"first-born from the dead," so having in all things the pre-eminence, after 
that "all old things," as the apostle says, "have passed away," He becomes 
the first-born of the new creation of men in Christ by the two-fold 
regeneration, alike that by Holy Baptism and that which is the 
consequence of the resurrection from the dead, becoming for us in both 
alike the Prince of Life, the first-fruits, the first-born. This first-born, then, 
hath also brethren, concerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, "Go and 
tell My brethren, I go to My Father and your Father, and to My God and 
your God." In these words He sums up the whole aim of His dispensation 
as Man. For men revolted front God, and "served them which by nature 
were no gods," and though being the children of God became attached to an 
evil father falsely so called. For this cause the mediator between God and 
man having assumed the first-fruits of all human nature, sends to His 
brethren the announcement of Himself not in His divine character, but in 
that which He shares with us, saying, "I am departing in order to make by 
My own self that true Father, from whom you were separated, to be your 
Father, and by My own self to make that true God from whom you had 
revolted to be your God, for by that first-fruits which I have assumed, I 
am in Myself presenting all humanity to its God and Father." 

Since, then, the first-fruits made the true God to be its God, and the good 
Father to be its Father, the blessing is secured for human nature as a 
whole, and by means of the first-fruits the true God and Father becomes 
Father and God of all men. Now "if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also 
is holy." But where the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is none 
other than Christ), there also are they that are Christ's, as the apostle 
says. In those passages therefore where he makes mention of the 
"first-born" in connection with other words, he suggests that we should 
understand the phrase in the way which I have indicated: but where, 
without any such addition, he says, "When again He bringeth the 
first-born into the world," the addition of "again" asserts that 
manifestation of the Lord of all which shall take place at the last day. For 



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as "at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven and 
things in earth and things under the earth," although the human name does 
not belong to the Son in that He is above every name, even so He says that 
the First-born, Who was so named for our sakes, is worshipped by all the 
supramundane creation, on His coming again into the world, when He 
"shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with equity." 
Thus the several meanings of the titles "First-born" and "Only begotten" 
are kept distinct by the word of godliness, its respective significance being 
secured for each name. But how can he who refers the name of "first-born" 
to the pre-temporal existence of the Son preserve the proper sense of the 
term "Only-begotten"? Let the discerning reader consider whether these 
things agree with one another, when the term "first-born" necessarily 
implies brethren, and the term "Only-begotten" as necessarily excludes the 
notion of brethren. For when the Scripture says, "In the beginning was the 
Word," we understand the Only-begotten to be meant, and when it adds 
"the Word was made flesh" we thereby receive in our minds the idea of the 
first-born, and so the word of godliness remains without confusion, 
preserving to each name its natural significance, so that in "Only-begotten" 
we regard the pre-temporal, and by "the first-born of creation" the 
manifestation of the pre-temporal in the flesh. 

9. Gregory again discusses the generation of the Only-begotten, and other 

different modes of generation, material and immaterial, and nobly demonstrates 

that the Son is the brightness of the Divine glory, and not a creature. 

And now let us return once more to the precise statement of Eunomius. 
"We believe also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, the first-born 
of all creation, very Son, not Ungenerate, verily begotten before the 
worlds." That he transfers, then, the sense of gene ration to indicate 
creation is plain from his expressly calling Him created, when he speaks of 
Him as "coming into being" and "not uncreate". But that the inconsiderate 
rashness and want of training which shows itself in the doctrines may be 
made manifest, let us omit all expressions of indignation at his evident 
blasphemy, and employ in the discussion of this matter a scientific 
division. For it would be well, I think, to consider in a somewhat careful 
investigation the exact meaning of the term "generation." That this 
expression conveys the meaning of existing as the result of some cause is 
plain to all, and I suppose there is no need to contend about this point: but 



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since there are different modes of existing as the result of a cause, this 
difference is what I think ought to receive thorough explanation in our 
discussion by means of scientific division. Of things which have come into 
being as the results of some cause we recognize the following differences. 
Some are the result of material and art, as the fabrics of houses and all 
other works produced by means of their respective material, where some 
art gives direction and conducts its purpose to its proper aim. Others are 
the result of material and nature; for nature orders the generation of 
animals one from another, effecting her own work by means of the material 
subsistence in the bodies of the parents; others again are by material efflux. 
In these the original remains as it was before, and that which flows from it 
is contemplated by itself, as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the 
lamp and its radiance, or of scents and ointments, and the quality given off 
from them. For these, while remaining undiminished in themselves, have 
each accompanying them the special and peculiar effect which they 
naturally produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its brightness, and 
perfumes the fragrance which they engender in the air. There is also 
another kind of generation besides these, where the cause is immaterial and 
incorporeal, but the generation is sensible and takes place through the 
instrumentality of the body; I mean the generation of the word by the 
mind. For the mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word by means of 
sensible instruments. So many are the differences of the term generation, 
which we discover in a philosophic view of them, that is itself, so to 
speak, the result of generation. 

And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, 
it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy 
Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction 
which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the 
inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of 
God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognizes, yet 
without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words. For when it 
speaks of the creative power, it gives to such an energy the name of 
generation, because its expression must stoop to our low capacity; it does 
not, however, convey thereby all that we include in creative generation, as 
time, place, the furnishing of matter, the fitness of instruments, the design 
in the things that come into being, but it leaves these, and asserts of God in 



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lofty and magnificent language the creation of all existent things, when it 
says, "He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they 
were created." Again when it interprets to us the unspeakable and 
transcendent existence of the Only-begotten from the Father, as the 
poverty of human intellect is incapable of receiving doctrines which 
surpass all power of speech and thought, there too it borrows our language 
and terms Him "Son," — a name which our usage assigns to those who are 
born of matter and nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of 
generation by creation, does not in the case of God imply that such 
generation took place by means of any material, affirming that the power 
of God's will served for material substance, place, time and all such 
circumstances, even so here too, when using the term Son, it rejects both 
all else that human nature remarks in generation here below, — I mean 
affections and dispositions and the co-operation of time, and the necessity 
of place, — and, above all, matter, without all which natural generation 
here below does not take place. But when all such material, temporal and 
local existence is excluded from the sense of the term "Son," community of 
nature alone is left, and for this reason by the title "Son" is declared, 
concerning the Only-begotten, the close affinity and genuineness of 
relationship which mark His manifestation from the Father. And since 
such a kind of generation was not sufficient to implant in us an adequate 
notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence of the Only-begotten, 
Scripture avails itself also of the third kind of generation to indicate the 
doctrine of the Son's Divinity, — that kind, namely, which is the result of 
material efflux, and speaks of Him as the "brightness of glory," the "savor 
of ointment," the "breath of God;" illustrations which in the scientific 
phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily designate as material efflux. 

But as in the cases alleged neither the birth of the creation nor the force of 
the term "Son" admits time, matter, place, or affection, so here too the 
Scripture employing only the illustration of effulgence and the others that 
I have mentioned, apart from all material conception, with regard to the 
Divine fitness of such a mode of generation, shows that we must 
understand by the significance of this expression, an existence at once 
derived from and subsisting with the Father. For neither is the figure of 
breath intended to convey to us the notion of dispersion into the air from 
the material from which it is formed, nor is the figure of fragrance designed 



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to express the passing off of the quality of the ointment into the air, nor 
the figure of effulgence the efflux which takes place by means of the rays 
from the body of the sun: but as has been said in all cases, by such a mode 
of generation is indicated this alone, that the Son is of the Father and is 
conceived of along with Him, no interval intervening between the Father 
and Him Who is of the Father. For since of His exceeding loving-kindness 
the grace of the Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine conceptions 
concerning the Only-begotten should reach us from many quarters, and so 
be implanted in us, He added also the remaining kind of generation, — 
that, namely, of the word from the mind. And here the sublime John uses 
remarkable foresight. That the reader might not through inattention and 
unworthy conceptions sink to the common notion of "word," so as to 
deem the Son to be merely a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of the 
Word that He essentially subsisted in the first and blessed nature Itself, 
thus proclaiming aloud, "In the Beginning was the Word, and with God, 
and God, and Light, and Life," and all that the Beginning is, the Word was 
also. 

Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, I mean, which arise as the 
result of some cause, and are recognized in our every-day experience, are 
also employed by Holy Scripture to convey its teaching concerning 
transcendent mysteries in such wise as each of them may reasonably be 
transferred to the expression of divine conceptions, we may now proceed 
to examine Eunomius' statement also, to find in what sense he accepts the 
meaning of "generation." "Very Son," he says, "not ungenerate, verily 
begotten before the worlds." One may, I think, pass quickly over the 
violence done to logical sequence in his distinction, as being easily 
recognizable by all. For who does not know that while the proper 
opposition is between Father and Son, between generate and ungenerate, 
he thus passes over the term "Father" and sets "ungenerate" in opposition 
to "Son," whereas he ought, if he had any concern for truth, to have 
avoided diverting his phrase from the due sequence of relationship, and to 
have said, "Very Son, not Father"? And in this way due regard would have 
been paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, as the nature would 
not have been rent asunder in making the distinction between the persons. 
But he has exchanged in his statement of his faith the true and scriptural 
use of the term "Father," committed to us by the Word Himself, and 



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speaks of the "Ungenerate" instead of the "Father," in order that by 
separating Him from that close relationship towards the Son which is 
naturally conceived of in the title of Father, he may place Him on a 
common level with all created objects, which equally stand in opposition 
to the "ungenerate." "Verily begotten," he says, "before the worlds." Let 
him say of Whom He is begotten. He will answer, of course, "Of the 
Father," unless he is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. But 
since it is impossible to detach the eternity of the Son from the eternal 
Father, seeing that the term "Father" by its very signification implies the 
Son, for this reason it is that he rejects the title Father and shifts his 
phrase to "ungenerate," since the meaning of this latter name has no sort of 
relation or connection with the Son, and by thus misleading his readers 
through the substitution of one term for the other, into not contemplating 
the Son along with the Father, he opens up a path for his sophistry, 
paving the way of impiety by slipping in the term "ungenerate." For they 
who according to the ordinance of the Lord believe in the Father, when 
they hear the name of the Father, receive the Son along with Him in their 
thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the Father, without treading 
on an unsubstantial vacuum interposed between them. But those who are 
diverted to the title "ungenerate" instead of Father, get a bare notion of 
this name, learning only the fact that He did not at any time come into 
being, not that He is Father. Still, even with this mode of conception, the 
faith of those who read with discernment remains free from confusion. For 
the expression "not to come into being" is used in an identical sense of all 
uncreated nature: and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally uncreated. 
For it has ever been believed by those who follow the Divine word that all 
the creation, sensible and supramundane, derives its existence from the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He who has heard that "by the word 
of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath 
of His mouth," neither understands by "word" mere utterance, nor by 
"breath" mere exhalation, but by what is there said frames the conception 
of God the Word and of the Spirit of God. Now to create and to be created 
are not equivalent, but all existent things being divided into that which 
makes and that which is made, each is different in nature from the other, so 
that neither is that uncreated which is made, nor is that created which 
effects the production of the things that are made. By those then who, 
according to the exposition of the faith given us by our Lord Himself, have 



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believed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 
it is acknowledged that each of these Persons is alike unoriginate, and the 
meaning conveyed by "ungenerate" does no harm to their sound belief: but 
to those who are dense and indefinite this term serves as a starting-point 
for deflection from sound doctrine. For not understanding the true force of 
the term, that "ungenerate" signifies nothing more than "not having come 
into being," and that "not coming into being" is a common property of all 
that transcends created nature, they drop their faith in the Father, and 
substitute for "Father" the phrase "ungenerate:" and since, as has been 
said, the Personal existence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in this 
name, they determine the existence of the Son to have commenced from 
some definite beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius here adds to his 
previous statements) that He is called Son not without generation 
preceding His existence. 

What is this vain juggling with words? Is he aware that it is God of Whom 
he speaks, Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, nor was there 
any time when He was not? He knows not what he says nor whereof he 
affirms, but he endeavors, as though he were constructing the pedigree of a 
mere man, to apply to the Lord of all creation the language which properly 
belongs to our nature here below. For, to take an example, Ishmael was not 
before the generation that brought him into being, and before his birth there 
was of course an interval of time. But with Him Who is "the brightness of 
glory," "before" and "after" have no place: for before the brightness, of 
course neither was there any glory, for concurrently with the existence of 
the glory there assuredly beams forth its brightness; and it is impossible in 
the nature of things that one should be severed from the other, nor is it 
possible to see the glory by itself before its brightness. For he who says 
thus will make out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, if the 
brightness from it does not shine out at the same time. But this is the 
unfair method of the heresy, to endeavor, by the notions and terms 
employed concerning the Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His 
oneness with the Father. It is to this end they say, "Before the generation 
that brought Him into being He was not Son:" but the "sons of rams," of 
whom the prophet speaks, — are not they too called sons after coming 
into being? That quality, then, which reason notices in the "sons of rams," 
that they are not "sons of rams" before the generation which brings them 



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into being, — this our reverend divine now ascribes to the Maker of the 
worlds and of all creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Himself, and is 
contemplated in the eternity of the Father, as He Himself says, "I am in 
the Father, and the Father in Me." Those, however, who are not able to 
detect the sophistry that lurks in his statement, and are not trained to any 
sort of logical perception, follow these inconsequent statements and 
receive what comes next as a logical consequence of what preceded. For he 
says, "coming into being before all creation," and as though this were not 
enough to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity in reserve in the 
phrase that follows, when he terms the Son "not uncreate." In what sense 
then does he call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son"? For if it is meet to 
call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son," then of course the heaven is 
"very Son;" for it too is "not uncreate." So the sun too is "very Son," and 
all that the creation contains, both small and great, are of course entitled to 
the appellation of "very Son." And in what sense does He call Him Who 
has come into being "Only-begotten"? For all things that come into being 
are unquestionably in brotherhood with each other, so far, I mean, as their 
coming into being is concerned. And from whom did He come into being? 
For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the 
Son. For thus did John testify, saying, "All things were made by Him." If 
then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius' creed, He is 
certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then 
all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of 
the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these 
premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the 
Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words 
that the Lord and Maker of all creation is "not uncreate"? Let him tell us 
whence he has this boldness assertion. From what inspired utterance? 
What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What 
prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were 
divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, 
ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith 
delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that 
the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and 
not in the creature? and how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself 
adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides 



232 

the Creator are guilty of idolatry? For, were the Son created, either he 
would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing 
those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should 
appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew 
that He Whom he adored was God over all, for so he terms the Son in his 
Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the 
essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him mockery the 
fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the 
name of "God," as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? 
Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is 
not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, 
or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that 
they are idolaters. 

10. He explains the phrase" The Lord created Me," and the argument about the 
origination of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius' reasoning, and the 
passage which says, "My glory will I not give to another," examining them from 

different points of view. 

But of course they bring forward the passage in the book of Proverbs 
which says, "The Lord created Me as the beginning of His ways, for His 
works." Now it would require a lengthy discussion to explain fully the real 
meaning of the passage: still it would be possible even in a few words to 
convey to well-disposed readers the thought intended. Some of those who 
are accurately versed in theology do say this, that the Hebrew text does 
not read "created," and we have ourselves read in more ancient copies 
"possessed" instead of "created." Now assuredly "possession" in the 
allegorical language of the Proverbs marks that slave Who for oar sakes 
"took upon Him the form of a slaves." But if any one should allege in this 
passage the reading which prevails in the Churches, we do not reject even 
the expression "created." For this also in allegorical language is intended to 
connote the "slave," since, as the Apostle tells us, "all creation is in 
bondage." Thus we say that this expression, as well as the other, admits of 
an orthodox interpretation. For He Who for our sakes became like as we 
are, was in the last days truly created, — He Who in the beginning being 
Word and God afterwards became Flesh and Man. For the nature of flesh 
is created: and by partaking in it in all points like as we do, yet without 
sin, He was created when He became man: and He was created "after 
God," not after man, as the Apostle says, in a new manner and not 



233 

according to human wont. For we are taught that this "new man" was 
created — albeit of the Holy Ghost and of the power of the Highest — 
whom Paul, the hierophant of unspeakable mysteries, bids us to "put on," 
using two phrases to express the garment that is to be put on, saying in 
one place, "Put on the new man which after God is created," and in 
another, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." For thus it is that He, Who 
said "I am the Way," becomes to us who have put Him on the beginning of 
the ways of salvation, that He may make us the work of His own hands, 
new modeling us from the evil mold of sin once more to His own image. 
He is at once our foundation before the world to come, according to the 
words of Paul, who says, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is 
laid," and it is true that "before the springs of the waters came forth, 
before the mountains were settled, before He made the depths, and before 
all hills, He begetteth Me." For it is possible, according to the usage of the 
Book of Proverbs, for each of these phrases, taken in a tropical sense, to 
be applied to the Word. For the great David calls righteousness the 
"mountains of God," His judgments "deeps," and the teachers in the 
Churches" fountains," saying "Bless God the Lord from the fountains of 
Israel"; and guilelessness he calls "hills," as he shows when he speaks of 
their skipping like lambs. Before these therefore is born in us He Who for 
our sakes was created as man, that of these things also the creation may 
find place in us. But we may, I think, pass from the discussion of these 
points, inasmuch as the truth has Been sufficiently pointed out in a few 
words to well-disposed readers; let us proceed to what Eunomius says 
next. 

"Existing in the Beginning," he says, "not without beginning." In what 
fashion does he who plumes himself on his superior discernment 
understand the oracles of God? He declares Him Who was in the beginning 
Himself to have a beginning: and is not aware that if He Who is in the 
beginning has a beginning, then the Beginning itself must needs have 
another beginning. Whatever He says of the beginning he must necessarily 
confess to be true of Him Who was in the beginning: for how can that 
which is in the beginning be severed from the beginning? and how can any 
one imagine a "was not" as preceding the "was"? For however far one 
carries back one's thought to apprehend the beginning, one most certainly 
understands as one does so that the Word which was in the beginning 



234 

(inasmuch as It cannot be separated from the beginning in which It is) does 
not at any point of time either begin or cease its existence therein. Yet let 
no one be induced by these words of mine to separate into two the one 
beginning we acknowledge. For the beginning is most assuredly one, 
wherein is discerned, indivisibly, that Word Who is completely united to 
the Father. He who thus thinks will never leave heresy a loophole to 
impair his piety by the novelty of the term "ungenerate." But in 
Eunomius' next propositions his statements are like bread with a large 
admixture of sand. For by mixing his heretical opinions with sound 
doctrines, he makes uneatable even that which is in itself nutritious, by the 
gravel which he has mingled with it. For he calls the Lord "living wisdom, 
"operative truth," subsistent power, and "life": — so far is the nutritious 
portion. But into these assertions he instills the poison of heresy. For 
when he speaks of the "life" as "generate" he makes a reservation by the 
implied opposition to the "ungenerate" life, and does not affirm the Son to 
be the very Life. Next he says: — " As Son of God, quickening the dead, 
the true light, the light that lighteneth every man coming into the world, 
good, and the bestower of good things." All these things he offers for 
honey to the simple-minded, concealing his deadly drug under the 
sweetness of terms like these. For he immediately introduces, on the heels 
of these statements, his pernicious principle, in the words "Not 
partitioning with Him that begat Him His high estate, not dividing with 
another the essence of the Father, but becoming by generation glorious, 
yea, the Lord of glory, and receiving glory from the Father, not sharing His 
glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as 
He hath said, 'My glory will I not give to another'" These are his deadly 
poisons, which they alone can discover who have their souls' senses 
trained so to do: but the mortal mischief of the words is disclosed by their 
conclusion: — "Receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with 
the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath 
said, 'My glory will I not give to another.'" Who is that "other" to whom 
God has said that He will not give His glory? The prophet speaks of the 
adversary of God, and Eunomius refers the prophecy to the only begotten 
God Himself! For when the prophet, speaking in the person of God, had 
said, "My glory will I not give to another," he added, "neither My praise 
to graven images." For when men were beguiled to offer to the adversary 
of God the worship and adoration due to God alone, paying homage in the 



235 

representations of graven images to the enemy of God, who appeared in 
many shapes amongst men in the forms furnished by idols, He Who 
healeth them that are sick, in pity for men's ruin, foretold by the prophet 
the loving-kindness which in the latter days He would show in the 
abolishing of idols, saying, "When My truth shall have been manifested, 
My glory shall no more be given to another, nor My praise bestowed 
upon graven images: for men, when they come to know My glory, shall no 
more be in bondage to them that by nature are no gods." All therefore that 
the prophet says in the person of the Lord concerning the power of the 
adversary, this fighter against God, refers to the Lord Himself, Who spake 
these words by the prophet! Who among the tyrants is recorded to have 
been such a persecutor of the faith as this? Who maintained such 
blasphemy as this, that He Who, as we believe, was manifested in the 
flesh for the salvation of our souls, is not very God, but the adversary of 
God, who puts his guile into effect against men by the instrumentality of 
idols and graven images? For it is what was said of that adversary by the 
prophet that Eunomius transfers to the only-begotten God, without so 
much as reflecting that it is the Only-begotten Himself Who spoke these 
words by the prophet, as Eunomius himself subsequently confesses when 
he says, "this is He Who spake by the prophets." 

Why should I pursue this part of the subject in more detail? For the words 
preceding also are tainted with the same profanity — "receiving glory 
from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the 
Almighty God is incommunicable." For my own part, even had his words 
referred to Moses who was glorified in the ministration of the Law, — not 
even then should I have tolerated such a statement, even if it be conceded 
that Moses, having no glory from within, appeared completely glorious to 
the Israelites by the favor bestowed on him from God. For the very glory 
that was bestowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none other but of God 
Himself, which glory the Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He 
blames those who value human glory highly and seek not the glory that 
cometh from God only. For by the fact that He commanded them to seek 
the glory that cometh from the only God, He declared the possibility of 
their obtaining what they sought. How then is the glory of the Almighty 
incommunicable, if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that cometh 
from the only God, and if, according to our Lord's word, "every one that 



236 

asketh receiveth"? But one who says concerning the Brightness of the 
Father's glory, that He has the glory by having received it, says in effect 
that the Brightness of the glory is in Itself devoid of glory, and needs, in 
order to become Himself at last the Lord of some glory, to receive glory 
from another. How then are we to dispose of the utterances of the Truth, 

— one which tells us that He shall be seen in the glory of the Father, and 
another which says, "All things that the Father hath are Mine"? To whom 
ought the hearer to give ear? To him who says, "He that is, as the Apostle 
says, the 'heir of all things' that are in the Father, is without part or lot in 
His Father's glory"; or to Him Who declares that all things that the Father 
hath, He Himself hath also? Now among the "all things," glory surely is 
included. Yet Eunomius says that the glory of the Almighty is 
incommunicable. This view Joel does not attest, nor yet the mighty Peter, 
who adopted, in his speech to the Jews, the language of the prophet. For 
both the prophet and the apostle say, in the person of God, — "I will 
pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh." He then Who did not grudge the 
partaking in His own Spirit to all flesh, — how can it be that He does not 
impart His own glory to the only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of 
the Father, Who has all things that the Father has? Perhaps one should say 
that Eunomius is here speaking the truth, though not intending it. For the 
term "impart" is strictly used in the case of one who has not his glory 
from within, whose possession of it is an accession from without, and not 
part of his own nature: but where one and the same nature is observed in 
both Persons, He Who is as regards nature all that the Father is believed to 
be stands in no need of one to impart to Him each several attribute. This it 
will be well to explain more clearly and precisely. He Who has the Father 
dwelling in Him in His entirety — what need has He of the Father' s glory, 
when none of the attributes contemplated in the Father is withdrawn from 
Him? 

11. After expounding the high estate of the Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and 

the phrase "bring made obedient," he shows the folly of Eunomius in his 

assertion that the Son did not acquire His sonship by obedience. 

What, moreover, is the high estate of the Almighty in which Eunomius 
affirms that the Son has no share? Let those, then, who are wise in their 
own eyes, and prudent in their own sight, utter their groundling opinions 

— they who, as the prophet says, "speak out of the ground." But let us 



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who reverence the Word and are disciples of the Truth, or rather who 
profess to be so, not leave even this assertion unsifted. We know that of 
all the names by which Deity is indicated some are expressive of the 
Divine majesty, employed and understood absolutely, and some are 
assigned with reference to the operations over us and all creation. For 
when the Apostle says "Now to the immortal, invisible, only wise Gods," 
and the like, by these titles he suggests conceptions which represent to us 
the transcendent power, but when God is spoken of in the Scriptures as 
gracious, merciful, full of pity, true, good, Lord, Physician, Shepherd, 
Way, Bread, Fountain, King, Creator, Artificer, Protector, Who is over all 
and through all, Who is all in all, these and similar titles contain the 
declaration of the operations of the Divine loving-kindness in the creation. 
Those then who enquire precisely into the meaning of the term 
"Almighty" will find that it declares nothing else concerning the Divine 
power than that operation which controls created things and is indicated 
by the word "Almighty," stands in a certain relation to something. For as 
He would not be called a Physician, save on account of the sick, nor 
merciful and gracious, and the like, save by reason of one who stood in 
need of grace and mercy, so neither would He be styled Almighty, did not 
all creation stand in need of one to regulate it and keep it in being. As, 
then, He presents Himself as a Physician to those who are in need of 
healing, so He is Almighty over one who has need of being ruled: and just 
as "they that are whole have no need of a physician," so it follows that we 
may well say that He Whose nature contains in it the principle of unerring 
and unwavering rectitude does not, like others, need a ruler over Him. 
Accordingly, when we hear the name "Almighty," our conception is this, 
that God sustains in being all intelligible things as well as all things of a 
material nature. For this cause He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, for 
this cause He holdeth the ends of the earth in His hand, for this cause He 
"meteth out leaven with the span, and measureth the waters in the hollow 
of His hand"; for this cause He comprehendeth in Himself all the 
intelligible creation, that all things may remain in existence controlled by 
His encompassing power. Let us enquire, then, Who it is that "worketh all 
in all." Who is He Who made all things, and without Whom no existing 
thing does exist? Who is He in Whom all things were created, and in Whom 
all things that are have their continuance? In Whom do we live and move 
and have our being? Who is He Who hath in Himself all that the Father 



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hath? Does what has been said leave us any longer in ignorance of Him 
Who is "God over all," Who is so entitled by S. Paul, — our Lord Jesus 
Christ, Who, as He Himself says, holding in His hand "all things that the 
Father hath," assuredly grasps all things in the all-containing hollow of His 
hand and is sovereign over what He has grasped, and no man taketh from 
the hand of Him Who in His hand holdeth all things? If, then, He hath all 
things, and is sovereign over that which He hath, why is He Who is thus 
sovereign over all things something else and not Almighty? If heresy 
replies that the Father is sovereign over both the Son and the Holy Spirit, 
let them first show that the Son and the Holy Spirit are of mutable nature, 
and then over this mutability let them set its ruler, that by the help 
implanted from above, that which is so overruled may continue incapable 
of turning to evil. If, on the other hand, the Divine nature is incapable of 
evil, unchangeable, unalterable, eternally permanent, to what end does it 
stand in need of a ruler, controlling as it does all creation, and itself by 
reason of its immutability needing no ruler to control it? For this cause it is 
that at the name of Christ "every knee boweth, of things in heaven, and 
things in earth, and things under the earth." For assuredly every knee 
would not thus bow, did it not recognize in Christ Him Who rules it for its 
own salvation. But to say that the Son came into being by the goodness of 
the Father is nothing else than to put Him on a level with the meanest 
objects of creation. For what is there that did not arrive at its birth by the 
goodness of Him Who made it? To what is the formation of mankind 
ascribed? to the badness of its Maker, or to His goodness? To what do we 
ascribe the generation of animals, the production of plants and herbs? 
There is nothing that did not take its rise from the goodness of Him Who 
made it. A property, then, which reason discerns to be common to all 
things, Eunomius is so kind as to allow to the Eternal Son! But that He did 
not share His essence or His estate with the Father — these assertions and 
the rest of his verbiage I have refuted in anticipation, when dealing with his 
statements concerning the Father, and shown that he has hazarded them at 
random and without any intelligible meaning. For not even in the case of us 
who are born one of another is there any division of essence. The 
definition expressive of essence remains in its entirety in each, in him that 
begets and in him who is begotten, without admitting diminution in him 
who be-gets, or augmentation in him who is begotten. But to speak of 
division of estate or sovereignty in the case of Him Who hath all things 



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whatsoever that the Father hath, carries with it no meaning, unless it be a 
demonstration of the propounder's impiety. It would therefore be 
superfluous to entangle oneself in such discussions, and so to prolong our 
treatise to an unreasonable length. Let us pass on to what follows. 

"Glorified," he says, "by the Father before the worlds." The word of truth 
hath been demonstrated, confirmed by the testimony of its adversaries. 
For this is the sum of our faith, that the Son is from all eternity, being 
glorified by the Father: for "before the worlds" is the same in sense as 
"from all eternity," seeing that prophecy uses this phrase to set forth to 
us God's eternity, when it speaks of Him as "He that is from before the 
worlds." If then to exist before the worlds is beyond all beginning, be who 
confers glory on the Son before the worlds, does thereby assert His 
existence from eternity before that glory: for surely it is not the 
non-existent, but the existent which is glorified. Then he proceeds to plant 
for himself the seeds of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; not with a 
view to glorify the Son, but that he may wantonly outrage the Holy 
Ghost. For with the intention of making out the Holy Spirit to be part of 
the angelic host, he throws in the phrase "glorified eternally by the Spirit, 
and by every rational and generated being," so that there is no distinction 
between the Holy Spirit and all that comes into being; if, that is, the Holy 
Spirit glorifies the Lord in the same sense as all the other existences 
enumerated by the prophet, "angels and powers, and the heaven of 
heavens, and the water above the heavens, and all the things of earth, 
dragons, deeps, fire and hail, snow and vapor, wind of the storm, 
mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all 1 cattle, 
worms and feathered fowls." If, then, he says, that along with these the 
Holy Spirit also glorifies the Lord, surely his God-opposing tongue makes 
out the Holy Spirit Himself also to be one of them. 

The disjointed incoherencies which follow next, I think it well to pass 
over, not because they give no handle at all to censure, but because their 
language is such as might be used by the devout, if detached from its 
malignant context. If he does here and there use some expressions 
favorable to devotion it is just held out as a bait to simple souls, to the end 
that the hook of impiety may be swallowed along with it. For after 
employing such language as a member of the Church might use, he 
subjoins, "Obedient with regard to the creation and production of all 



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things that are, obedient with regard to every ministration, not having by 
His obedience attained Sonship or Godhead, but, as a consequence of being 
Son and being generated as the Only-begotten God, showing Himself 
obedient in words, obedient in acts." Yet who of those who are conversant 
with the oracles of God does not know With regard to what point of time 
it was said of Him by the mighty Paul, (and that once for all), that He 
"became obedient"? For it was when He came in the form of a servant to 
accomplish the mystery of redemption by the cross, Who had emptied 
Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming the likeness and fashion of a 
man, being found as man in man's lowly nature — then, I say, it was that 
He became obedient, even He Who "took our infirmities and bare our 
sicknesses," healing the disobedience of men by His own obedience, that 
by His stripes He might heal our wound, and by His own death do away 
with the common death of all men, — then it was that for our sakes He 
was made obedient, even as He became "sin" and "a curse" by reason of 
the dispensation on our behalf, not being so by nature, but becoming so in 
His love for man. But by what sacred utterance was He ever taught His 
list of so many obediences? Nay, on the contrary every inspired Scripture 
attests His independent and sovereign power, saying, "He spake the word 
and they were made: He commanded and they were created": — for it is 
plain that the Psalmist says this concerning Him Who upholds "all things 
by the word of His power," Whose authority, by the sole impulse of His 
will, framed every existence and nature, and all things in the creation 
apprehended by reason or by sight. Whence, then, was Eunomius moved 
to ascribe in such manifold wise to the King of the universe the attribute of 
obedience, speaking of Him as "obedient with regard to all the work of 
creation, obedient with regard to every ministration, obedient in words and 
in acts"? Yet it is plain to every one, that he alone is obedient to another in 
acts and words, who has not yet perfectly achieved in himself the 
condition of accurate working or unexceptionable speech, but keeping his 
eye ever on his teacher and guide, is trained by his suggestions to exact 
propriety in deed and word. But to think that Wisdom needs a master and 
teacher to guide aright. Its attempts at imitation, is the dream of 
Eunomius' fancy, and of his alone. And concerning the Father he says, 
that He is faithful in words and faithful in works, while of the Son he does 
not assert faithfulness in word and deed, but only obedience and not 
faithfulness, so that his profanity extends impartially through all his 



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statements. But it is perhaps right to pass in silence over the inconsiderate 
folly of the assertion interposed between those last mentioned, lest some 
unreflecting persons should laugh at its absurdity when they ought rather 
to weep over the perdition of their souls, than laugh at the folly of their 
words. For this wise and wary theologian says that He did not attain to 
being a Son as the result of His obedience! Mark his penetration! with 
what cogent force does he lay it down for us that He was not first 
obedient and afterwards a Son, and that we ought not to think that His 
obedience was prior to His generation! Now if he had not added this 
defining clause, who without it would have been sufficiently silly and 
idiotic to fancy that His generation was bestowed on Him by His Father, 
as a reward of the obedience of Him Who before His generation had 
showed due subjection and obedience? But that no one may too readily 
extract matter for laughter from these remarks, let each consider that even 
the folly of the words has in it something worthy of tears. For what he 
intends to establish by these observations is something of this kind, that 
His obedience is part of His nature, so that not even if He willed it would 
it be possible for Him not to be obedient. 

For he says that He was so constituted that His nature was adapted to 
obedience alone, just as among instruments that which is fashioned with 
regard to a certain figure necessarily produces in that which is subjected to 
its operation the form which the artificer implanted in the construction of 
the instrument, and cannot possibly trace a straight line upon that which 
receives its mark, if its own working is in a curve; nor can the instrument, 
if fashioned to draw a straight line, produce a circle by its impress. What 
need is there of any words of ours to reveal how great is the profanity of 
such a notion, when the heretical utterance of itself proclaims aloud its 
monstrosity? For if He was obedient for this reason only that He was so 
made, then of course He is not on an equal footing even with humanity, 
since on this theory, while our soul is self-determining and independent, 
choosing as it will with sovereignty over itself that which is pleasing to it, 
He on the contrary exercises, or rather experiences, obedience under the 
constraint of a compulsory law of His nature, while His nature suffers 
Him not to disobey, even if He would. For it was "as the result of being 
Son, and being begotten, that He has thus shown Himself obedient in 
words and obedient in acts." Alas, for the brutish stupidity of this 



242 

doctrine! Thou makest the Word obedient to words, and supposest other 
words prior to Him Who is truly the Word, and another Word of the 
Beginning is mediator between the Beginning and the Word that was in the 
Beginning, conveying to Him the decision. And this is not one only: there 
are several words, which Eunomius makes so many links of the chain 
between the Beginning and the Word, and which abuse His obedience as 
they think good. But what need is there to linger over this idle talk? Any 
one can see that even at that time with reference to which S. Paul says that 
He became obedient, (and he tells us that He became obedient in this wise, 
namely, by becoming for our sakes flesh, and a servant, and a curse, and 
sin), — even then, I say, the Lord of glory, Who despised the shame and 
embraced suffering in the flesh, did not abandon His free will, saying as He 
does, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up;" and again, 
"No man taketh My life from Me; I have power to lay it down, and I have 
power to take it again"; and when those who were armed with swords and 
staves drew near to Him on the night before His Passion, He caused them 
all to go backward by saying "I am He," and again, when the dying thief 
besought Him to remember him, He showed His universal sovereignty by 
saying, "To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." If then not even in 
the time of His Passion He is separated from His authority, where can 
heresy possibly discern the subordination to authority of the King of 
glory? 

12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent discourse of the interpretation of 

"Mediator," "Like," "Ungenerate," and "generate," and of "The likeness and seal 

of the energy of the Almighty and of His works." 

Again, what is the manifold mediation which with wearying iteration he 
assigns to God, calling Him "Mediator in doctrines, Mediator in the Law"? 
It is not thus that we are taught by the lofty utterance of the Apostle, who 
says that having made void the law of commandments by His own 
doctrines, He is the mediator between God and man, declaring it by this 
saying, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the 
man Christ Jesus;" where by the distinction implied in the word 
"mediator" he reveals to us the whole aim of the mystery of godliness. 
Now the aim is this. Humanity once revolted through the malice of the 
enemy, and, brought into bondage to sin, was also alienated from the true 
Life. After this the Lord of the creature calls back to Him His own 



243 

creature, and becomes Man while still remaining God, being both God and 
Man in the entirety of the two several natures, and thus humanity was 
indissolubly united to God, the Man that is in Christ conducting the work 
of mediation, to Whom, by the first-fruits assumed for us, all the lump is 
potentially united. Since, then, a mediator is not a mediator of one, and 
God is one, not divided among the Persons in Whom we have been taught 
to believe (for the Godhead in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is 
one), the Lord, therefore, becomes a mediator once for all betwixt God and 
men, binding man to the Deity by Himself. But even by the idea of a 
mediator we are taught the godly doctrine enshrined in the Creed. For the 
Mediator between God and man entered as it were into fellowship with 
human nature, not by being merely deemed a man, but having truly become 
so: in like manner also, being very God, He has not, as Eunomius will have 
us consider, been honored by the bare title of Godhead. 

What he adds to the preceding statements is characterized by the same 
want of meaning, or rather by the same malignity of meaning. For in calling 
Him "Son" Whom, a little before, he had plainly declared to be created, 
and in calling Him "only begotten God" Whom he reckoned with the rest 
of things that have come into being by creation, he affirms that He is like 
Him that begat Him only "by an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense." 
Accordingly, we must first distinguish the significations of the term "like," 
in how many senses it is employed in ordinary use, and afterwards 
proceed to discuss Eunomius' positions. In the first place, then, all things 
that beguile our senses, not being really identical in nature, but producing 
illusion by some of the accidents of the respective subjects, as form, color, 
sound, and the impressions conveyed by taste or smell or touch, while 
really different in nature, but supposed to be other than they truly are, 
these custom declares to have the relation of likeness," as, for example, 
when the lifeless material is shaped by art, whether carving, painting, or 
modeling, into an imitation of a living creature, the imitation is said to be 
"like" the original. For in such a case the nature of the animal is one thing, 
and that of the material, which cheats the sight by mere color and form, is 
another. To the same class of likeness belongs the image of the original 
figure in a mirror, which gives appearances of motion, without, however, 
being in nature identical with its original. In just the same way our hearing 
may experience the same deception, when, for instance, some one, 



244 

imitating the song of the nightingale with his own voice, persuades our 
hearing so that we seem to be listening to the bird. Taste, again, is subject 
to the same illusion, when the juice of figs mimics the pleasant taste of 
honey: for there is a certain resemblance to the sweetness of honey in the 
juice of the fruit. So, too, the sense of smell may sometimes be imposed 
upon by resemblance, when the scent of the herb chamomile, imitating the 
fragrant apple itself, deceives our perception: and in the same way with 
touch also, likeness belies the truth in various modes, since a silver or 
brass coin, of equal size and similar weight with a gold one, may pass for 
the gold piece if our sight does not discern the truth. 

We have thus generally described in a few words the several cases in which 
objects, because they are deemed to be different from what they really are, 
produce delusions in our senses. It is possible, of course, by a more 
laborious investigation, to extend one's enquiry through all things which 
are really different in kind one from another, but are nevertheless thought, 
by virtue of some accidental resemblance, to be like one to the other. Can 
it possibly be such a form of "likeness" as this, that he is continually 
attributing to the Son? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated as to 
discover deceptive similarity in Him Who is the Truth. Again, in the 
inspired Scriptures, we are told of another kind of resemblance by Him 
Who said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" but I do not 
suppose that Eunomius would discern this kind of likeness between the 
Father and the Son, so as to make out the Only -begotten God to be 
identical with man. We are also aware of another kind of likeness, of which 
the word speaks in Genesis concerning Seth, — "Adam begat a son in his 
own likeness, after his image"; and if this is the kind of likeness of which 
Eunomius speaks, we do not think his statement is to be rejected. For in 
this case the nature of the two objects which are alike is not different, and 
the impress and type imply community of nature. These, or such as these, 
are our views upon the variety of meanings of "like." Let us see, then, 
with what intention Eunomius asserts of the Son that "especial likeness" 
to the Father, when be says that He is "like the Father with an especial 
likeness, in a peculiar sense, not as Father to Father, for they are not two 
Fathers." He promises to show us the "especial likeness" of the Son to the 
Father, and proceeds by his definition to establish the position that we 
ought not to conceive of Him as being like. For by saying, "He is not like 



245 

as Father to Father," he makes out that He is not like; and again when he 
adds, "nor as Ungenerate to Ungenerate," by this phrase, too, he forbids 
us to conceive a likeness in the Son to the Father; and finally, by 
subjoining "nor as Son to Son," he introduces a third conception, by which 
he entirely subverts the meaning of "like." So it is that he follows up his 
own statements, and conducts his demonstration of likeness by 
establishing unlikeness. And now let us examine the discernment and 
frankness which he displays in these distinctions. After saying that the 
Son is like the Father, he guards the statement by adding that we ought not 
to think that the Son is like the Father, "as Father to Father." Why, what 
man on earth is such a fool as, on learning that the Son is like the Father, to 
be brought by any course of reasoning to think of the likeness of Father to 
Father? "Nor as Son to Son": — here, again, the acuteness of the 
distinction is equally conspicuous. When he tells us that the Son is like the 
Father, he adds the further definition that He must not be understood to be 
like Him in the same way as He would be like another Son. These are the 
mysteries of the awful doctrines of Eunomius, by which his disciples are 
made wiser than the rest of the world, by learning that the Son, by His 
likeness to the Father, is not like a Son, for the Son is not the Father: nor is 
He like "as Ungenerate to Ungenerate," for the Son is not ungenerate. But 
the mystery which we have received, when it speaks of the Father, 
certainly bids us understand the Father of the Son, and when it names the 
Son, teaches us to apprehend the Son of the Father. And until the present 
time we never felt the need of these philosophic refinements, that by the 
words Father and Son are suggested two Fathers or two Sons, a pair, so to 
say, of ungenerate beings. 

Now the drift of Eunomius' excessive concern about the Ungenerate has 
been often explained before; and it shall here be briefly discovered yet 
again. For as the term Father points to no difference of nature from the 
Son, his impiety, if he had brought his statement to a close here, would 
have had no support, seeing that the natural sense of the names Father and 
Son excludes the idea of their being alien in essence. But as it is, by 
employing the terms "generate" and "ungenerate," since the contradictory 
opposition between them admits of no mean, just like that between 
"mortal" and "immortal," "rational" and "irrational," and all those terms 
which are opposed to each other by the mutually exclusive nature of their 



246 

meaning, — by the use of these terms, I repeat, he gives free course to his 
profanity, so as to contemplate as existing in the "generate" with reference 
to the "ungenerate" the same difference which there is between "mortal" 
and "immortal": and even as the nature of the mortal is one, and that of the 
immortal another, and as the special attributes of the rational and of the 
irrational are essentially incompatible, just so he wants to make out that 
the nature of the ungenerate is one, and that of the generate another, in 
order to show that as the irrational nature has been created in subjection to 
the rational, so the generate is by a necessity of its being in a state of 
subordination to the ungenerate. For which reason he attaches to the 
ungenerate the name of "Almighty," and this he does not apply to express 
providential operation, as the argument led the way for him in suggesting, 
but transfers the application of the word to arbitrary sovereignty, so as to 
make the Son to be a part of the subject and subordinate universe, a 
fellow-slave with all the rest to Him Who with arbitrary and absolute 
sovereignty controls all alike. And that it is with an eye to this result that 
he employs these argumentative distinctions, will be clearly established 
from the passage before us. For after those sapient and 
carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to 
Father, or as Son to Son, — and yet there is no necessity that father 
should invariably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one 
father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of 
these has a son, the Ethiopian's son black, but the Scythian white-skinned 
and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father 
does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian's account, nor does the 
Ethiopian's body change to white on account of the Scythian, — after 
saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that 
"He is like as Son to Father." But although such a phrase indicates kinship 
in nature, as the inspired Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, 
our doctor, with but small respect for his intelligent readers, introduces his 
idle exposition of the title "Son," defining Him to be the image and seal of 
the energy of the Almighty. "For the Son," he says, "is the image and seal 
of the energy of the Almighty." Let him who hath ears to hear first, I pray, 
consider this particular point — What is "the seal of the energy"? Every 
energy is contemplated as exertion in the party who exhibits it, and on the 
completion of his exertion, it has no independent existence. Thus, far 
example, the energy of the runner is the motion of his feet, and when the 



247 

motion has stopped there is no longer any energy. So too about every 
pursuit the same may be said; — when the exertion of him who is busied 
about anything ceases, the energy ceases also, and has no independent 
existence, either when a person is actively engaged in the exertion he 
undertakes, or when he ceases from that exertion. What then does he tell 
us that the energy is in itself, which is neither essence, nor image, nor 
person? So he speaks of the Son as the similitude of the impersonal, and 
that which is like the non-existent surely has itself no existence at all. This 
is what his juggling with idle opinions comes to, — belief in nonentity! for 
that which is like nonentity surely itself is not. O Paul and John and all 
you others of the band of Apostles and Evangelists, who are they that arm 
their venomous tongues against your words? who are they that raise their 
frog-like croakings against your heavenly thunder? What then saith the son 
of thunder? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God." And what saith he that came after him, that other 
who had been within the heavenly temple, who in Paradise had been 
initiated into mysteries unspeakable? "Being," he says, "the Brightness of 
His glory, and the express Image of His person." What, after these have 
thus spoken, are the words of our ventriloquist? "The seal," quoth he, "of 
the energy of the Almighty." He makes Him third after the Father, with 
that non-existent energy mediating between them, or rather molded at 
pleasure by non-existence. God the Word, Who was in the beginning, is 
"the seal of the energy": — the Only-begotten God, Who is contemplated 
in the eternity of the Beginning of existent things, Who is in the bosom of 
the Father, Who sustains all things, by the word of His power, the creator 
of the ages, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom are all things, 
Who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and hath meted out heaven with 
the span, Who measureth the water in the hollow of his hand, Who 
holdeth in His hand all things that are, Who dwelleth on high and looketh 
upon the things that are lowly, or rather did look upon them to make all 
the world to be His footstool, imprinted by the footmark of the Word — 
the form of God is "the seal" of an "energy." Is God then an energy, not a 
Person? Surely Paul when expounding this very truth says He is "the 
express image," not of His energy, but "of His Person." Is the Brightness 
of His glory a seal of the energy of God? Alas for his impious ignorance! 
What is there intermediate between God and His own form? and Whom 
does the Person employ as mediator with His own express image? and 



248 

what can be conceived as coming between the glory and its brightness? But 
while there are such weighty and numerous testimonies wherein the 
greatness of the Lord of the creation is proclaimed by those who were 
entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, what sort of language does 
this forerunner of the final apostasy hold concerning Him? What says he? 
"As image," he says, "and seal of all the energy and power of the 
Almighty." How does he take upon himself to emend the words of the 
mighty Paul? Paul says that the Son is "the Power of God"; Eunomius 
calls Him "the seal of a power," not the Power. And then, repeating his 
expression, what is it that he adds to his previous statement? He calls Him 
"seal of the Father's works and words and counsels." To what works of 
the Father is He like? He will say, of course, the world, and all things that 
are therein. But the Gospel has testified that all these things are the works 
of the Only-begotten. To what works of the Father, then, was He likened? 
of what works was He made the seal? what Scripture ever entitled Him 
"seal of the Father's works"? But if any one should grant Eunomius the 
right to fashion his words at his own will, as he desires, even though 
Scripture does not agree with him, let him tell us what works of the Father 
there are of which he says that the Son was made the seal, apart from 
those that have been wrought by the Son. All things visible and invisible 
are the work of the Son: in the visible are included the whole world and all 
that is therein; in the invisible, the supramundane creation. What works of 
the Father, then, are remaining to be contemplated by themselves, over and 
above things visible and invisible, whereof he says that the Son was made 
the "seal"? Will he perhaps, when driven into a corner, return once more to 
the fetid vomit of heresy, and say that the Son is a work of the Father? 
How then does the Son come to be he seal of these works when He 
Himself, as Eunomius says, is the work of the Father? Or does he say that 
the same Person is at once a work and the likeness of a work? Let this be 
granted: let us suppose him to speak of the other works of which he says 
the Father was the creator, if indeed he intends us to understand likeness 
by the term "seal." But what other "words" of the Father does Eunomius 
know, besides that Word Who was ever in the Father, Whom he calls a 
"seal" — Him Who is and is called the Word in the absolute, true, and 
primary sense? And to what counsels can he possibly refer, apart from the 
Wisdom of God, to which the Wisdom of God is made like, in becoming a 
"seal" of those counsels? Look at the want of discrimination and 



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circumspection, at the confused muddle of his statement, how he brings 
the mystery into ridicule, without understanding either what he says or 
what he is arguing about. For He Who has the Father in His entirety in 
Himself, and is Himself in His entirety in the Father, as Word and Wisdom 
and Power and Truth, as His express image and brightness, Himself is all 
things in the Father, and does not come to be the image and seal and 
likeness of certain other things discerned in the Father prior to Himself. 

Then Eunomius allows to Him the credit of the destruction of men by 
water in the days of Noah, of the rain of fire that fell upon Sodom, and of 
the just vengeance upon the Egyptians, as though he were making some 
great concessions to Him Who holds in His hand the ends of the world, in 
Whom, as the Apostle says, "all things consist," as though he were not 
aware that to Him Who encompasses all things, and guides and sways 
according to His good pleasure all that hath already been and all that will 
be, the mention of two or three marvels does not mean the addition of 
glory, so much as the suppression of the rest means its deprivation or 
loss. But even if no word be said of these, the one utterance of Paul is 
enough by itself to point to them all inclusively — the one utterance 
which says that He "is above all, and through all, and in all." 

13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, "The Father judgeth no man," and 
further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the 
Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the 

dead. 

Next he says, "He legislates by the command of the Eternal God." Who is 
the eternal God? and who is He that ministers to Him in the giving of the 
Law? Thus much is plain to all that through Moses God appointed the 
Law to those that received it. Now inasmuch as Eunomius himself 
acknowledges that it was the only-begotten God Who held converse with 
Moses, how is it that the assertion before us puts the Lord of all in the 
place of Moses, and ascribes the character of the eternal God to the Father 
alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with the Eternal, to make out the 
only-begotten God, the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal? Our 
studious friend with his excellent memory seems to have forgotten that 
Paul uses all these terms concerning himself, announcing among men the 
proclamation of the Gospel by the command of God. Thus what the 
Apostle asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed to ascribe to the 



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Lord of the prophets and apostles, in order to place the Master on the 
same level with Paul, His own servant. But why should I lengthen out my 
argument by confuting in detail each of these assertions, where the too 
unsuspicious reader of Eunomius' writings may think that their author is 
saying what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while one who is able to 
unravel each statement critically will find them one and all infected with 
heretical knavery, For the Churchman and the heretic alike affirm that "the 
Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son," but 
to this assertion they severally attach different meanings. By the same 
words the Churchman understands supreme authority, the other maintains 
subservience and subjection. 

But to what has been already said, ought to be added some notice of that 
position which they make a kind of foundation of their impiety in their 
discussions concerning the Incarnation, the position, namely, that not the 
whole man has been saved by Him, but only the half of man, I mean the 
body. Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to 
show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in tits 
humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that 
so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld 
by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that 
Eunomius says, "He who in the last days became man did not take upon 
Himself the man made up of soul and body." But, after searching through 
all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as 
this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on 
earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress 
of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of 
salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I 
will endeavor to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated 
with regard to this matter. The Lord came "to seek and to save that which 
was lost." Now it was not the body merely, but the whole man, 
compacted of soul and body, that was lost: indeed, if we are to speak more 
exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. For disobedience is a sin, 
not of the body, but of the will: and the will properly belongs to the soul, 
from which the whole disaster of our nature bad its beginning, as the threat 
of God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in the declaration that, in the 
day that they should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without respite 



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would attach to the act. Now since the condemnation of man was twofold, 
death correspondingly effects in each part of our nature the deprivation of 
the twofold life that operates in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the 
death of the body consists in the extinction of the means of sensible 
perception, and in the dissolution of the body into its kindred elements: 
but "the soul that sinneth," he saith, "it shall die." Now sin is nothing else 
than alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the 
first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God 
lied not when He said, "In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die." 
For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death 
was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later 
time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who 
came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that 
which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is 
lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, 
that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body 
and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, 
yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon 
Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into 
it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with 
Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the 
first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when informing Joseph of the 
destruction of the enemies of the Lord, said, "They are dead which sought 
the young Child's life," (or "soul"): and the Lord says to the Jews, "Ye 
seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth." Now by "Man" is not 
meant the body of a man only, but that which is composed of both, soul 
and body. And again, He says to them, "Are ye angry at Me, because I 
have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?" And what He 
meant by "every whit whole," He showed in the other Gospels, when He 
said to the man who was let down on a couch in the midst, "Thy sins be 
forgiven thee," which is a healing of the soul, and, "Arise and walk," which 
has regard to the body: and in the Gospel of S. John, by liberating the soul 
also from its own malady after He had given health to the body, where He 
saith, "Thou art made whole, sin no more," thou, that is, who hast been 
cured in both, I mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. Paul speak, 
"for to make in Himself of twain one new man." And so too He foretells 
that at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily detach His soul from 



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His body, saying, "No man taketh" my soul "from Me, but I lay it down 
of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." 
Yea, the prophet David also, according to the interpretation of the great 
Peter, said with foresight of Him, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, 
neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption," while the 
Apostle Peter thus expounds the saying, that "His soul was not left in 
hell, neither His flesh did see corruption." For His Godhead, alike before 
taking flesh and in the flesh and after His Passion, is immutably the same, 
being at all times what It was by nature, and so continuing for ever. But in 
the suffering of His human nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation 
for our benefit by severing the soul for a season from the body, yet 
without being Itself separated from either of those elements to which it 
was once for all united, and by joining again the elements which had been 
thus parted, so as to give to all human nature a beginning and an example 
which it should follow of the resurrection from the dead, that all the 
corruptible may put on incorruption, and all the mortal may put on 
immortality, our first-fruits having been transformed to the Divine nature 
by its union with God, as Peter said, "This same Jesus Whom ye 
crucified, hath God made both Lord and Christ;" and we might cite many 
passages of Scripture to support such a position, showing how the Lord, 
reconciling the world to Himself by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned 
His work of benevolence to men between His soul and His body, willing 
through His soul and touching them through His body. But it would be 
superfluous to encumber our argument by entering into every detail. 

Before passing on, however, to what follows, I will further mention the 
one text, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it." Just as 
we, through soul and body, become a temple of Him Who "dwelleth in us 
and walketh in us," even so the Lord terms their combination a "temple," 
of which the "destruction" signifies the dissolution of the soul from the 
body. And if they allege the passage in the Gospel, "The Word was made 
flesh," in order to make out that the flesh was taken into the Godhead 
without the soul, on the ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned 
along with the flesh, let them learn that it is customary for Holy Scripture 
to imply the whole by the part. For He that said, "Unto Thee shall all 
flesh come," does not mean that the flesh will be presented before the 
Judge apart from the souls: and when we read in sacred History that Jacob 



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went down into Egypt with seventy-five souls we understand the flesh 
also to be intended together with the souls. So, then, the Word, when He 
became flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human nature; and hence it 
was possible that hunger and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, tears 
and trouble of spirit, and all such things, were in Him. For the Godhead, in 
its proper nature, admits no such affections, nor is the flesh by itself 
involved in them, if the soul is not affected coordinately with the body. 

14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius, and by the Church, 

touching the Holy Spirit; and to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy 

Ghost are not three Gods, but one God. He also discusses different senses of 

"Subjection," and therein shows that the subjection of all things to the Son is the 

same as the subjection of the Son to the Father. 

Thus much with regard to his profanity towards the Son. Now let us see 
what he says about the Holy Spirit. "After Him, we believe," he says, "on 
the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth." I think it will be plain to all who come 
across this passage what object he has in view in thus perverting the 
declaration of the faith delivered to us by the Lord, in his statements 
concerning the Son and the Father. Though this absurdity has already been 
exposed, I will nevertheless endeavor, in few words, to make plain the aim 
of his knavery. As in the former case, he avoided using the name "Father," 
that so he might not include the Son in the eternity of the Father, so he 
avoided employing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest His 
natural affinity to the Father; so here, too, he refrains from saying "Holy 
Spirit," that he may not by this name acknowledge the majesty of His 
glory, and His complete union with the Father and the Son. For since the 
appellation of "Spirit," and that of "Holy," are by the Scriptures equally 
applied to the Father and the Son (for "God is a Spirits," and "the 
anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face," and "the Lord our God is 
Holy," and there is "one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ") lest there should, 
by the use of these terms, be bred in the minds of his readers some 
orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would naturally arise in 
them from His sharing His glorious appellation with the Father and the 
Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the foolish, he changes the words 
of the Faith as set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, making a 
way, so to speak, by this sequence, for the entrance of his impiety against 
the Holy Spirit. For if he had said, "We believe in the Holy Spirit," and 
"God is a Spirit," any one instructed in things divine would have 



254 

interposed the remark, that if we are to believe in the Holy Spirit, while 
God is called a Spirit, He is assuredly not distinct in nature from that 
which receives the same titles in a proper sense. For of all those things 
which are indicated not unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and 
absolutely, by the same names, we are necessarily compelled to 
acknowledge that the nature also, which is signified by this identity of 
names, is one and the same. For this reason it is that, suppressing the 
name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, "We 
believe in the Comforter." But I have been taught that this very name is 
also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 
alike. For the Son gives the name of "Comforter" equally to Himself and to 
the Holy Spirit; and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely 
claims as His own the name of "Comforter." For assuredly he Who does 
the work of a Comforter does not disdain the name belonging to the work: 
for David says to the Father, "Thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted 
me," and the great Apostle applies to the Father the same language, when 
he says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who 
comforteth us in all our tribulation"; and John, in one of his Catholic 
Epistles, expressly gives to the Son the name of Comforter. Nay, more, 
the Lord Himself, in saying that another Comforter would be sent us, 
when speaking of the Spirit, clearly asserted this title of Himself in the 
first place. But as there are two senses of the word TtocpocKocXeiv, — one 
to beseech, by words and gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we 
apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of those things for which we 
apply, — the other to comfort, to take remedial thought for affections of 
body and soul, — the Holy Scripture affirms the conception of the 
Paraclete, in either sense alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at one 
time Paul sets before us by the word 7tocpocKoc^eiv the healing power of 
God, as when he says, "God, Who comforteth those that are cast down, 
comforted us by the coming of Titus"; and at another time he uses this 
word in its other meaning, when he says, writing to the Corinthians, "Now 
we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we 
pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Now since these 
things are so, in whatever way you understand the title "Paraclete," when 
used of the Spirit, you will not in either of its significations detach Him 
from His community in it with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, he 
has not been able, even though he wished it, to belittle the glory of the 



255 

Spirit by ascribing to Him the very attribute which Holy Scripture refers 
also to the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him "the Spirit of Truth," 
Eunomius' own wish, I suppose, was to suggest by this phrase subjection, 
since Christ is the Truth, and he called Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one 
should say that He is a possession and chattel of the Truth, without being 
aware that God is called a God of righteousness; and we certainly do not 
understand thereby that God is a possession of righteousness. Wherefore 
also, when we hear of the "Spirit of Truth," we acquire by that phrase 
such a conception as befits the Deity, being guided to the loftier 
interpretation by the words which follow it. For when the Lord said "The 
Spirit of Truth," He immediately added "Which proceedeth from the 
Father," a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any 
conceivable thing in creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not of 
thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that 
is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then 
that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special 
and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in "the Guide 
of godliness." Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and 
Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the 
way of the faith. For if we are to believe in "that which guides us to 
godliness," along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and 
lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and 
teachers, have equal honor with the Holy Spirit, as they bare been "guides 
to godliness" to those who came after them. "Who came into being," he 
goes on, "by the only God through the Only-begotten." In these words he 
gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father 
"only God," who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the 
production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in 
Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what 
premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of 
the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the 
contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the 
Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to 
prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power 
to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who 
knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born 
of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the 



256 

birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born 
of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as 
many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God. So also when 
the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy 
Spirit, John says, "Of His fullness have all we received." And that "in 
Him dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead," the mighty Paul attests: yea, 
moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation 
of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat 
"on the throne high and lifted up;" the older tradition, it is true, says that 
it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the 
prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not 
believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, "These 
things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him." But the 
mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech 
made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, "Well spoke the Holy Ghost by 
Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall 
not understand," showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that 
every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the 
Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, "they provoked God in the 
wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert," the apostle refers to the Holy 
Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: 
"Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the 
provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers 
tempted me," and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to 
the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the 
phrase "three Gods," because we hold these views, have perhaps not yet 
learnt how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into 
duality, (for they are, according to the Lord's words, One, and not Twos) 
and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided 
into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge 
us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first 
maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to 
two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for 
the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the 
God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy 
Ghost? 



257 

Let us however resume Eunomius' statement in its entirety. "Having come 
into being from the only God through the Only-begotten, this Spirit also" 
What proof is there of the statement that "this Spirit also" is one of the 
things that were made by the Only-begotten? They will say of course that 
"all things were made by Him," and that in the term "all things" "this 
Spirit also" is included. Our answer to them shall be this, All things were 
made by Him, that were made. Now the things that were made, as Paul 
tells us, were things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, dominions, 
principalities, powers, and among those included under the head of thrones 
and powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim and Seraphim: so far does 
the term "all things" extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as being above the 
nature of things that have come into being, Paul said not a word in his 
enumeration of existing things, not indicating to us by his words either His 
subordination or His coming into being; but just as the prophet calls the 
Holy Spirit "good," and "right," and "guiding"(indicating by the word 
"guiding" the power of control), even so the apostle ascribes independent 
authority to the dignity of the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in 
all as He wills. Again, the Lord makes manifest the Spirit's independent 
power and operation in His discourse with Nicodemus, when He says, 
"The Spirit breatheth where He willeth." How is it then that Eunomius 
goes so far as to define that He also is one of the things that came into 
being by the Son, condemned to eternal subjection. For he describes Him 
as "once for all made subject," enthralling the guiding and governing Spirit 
in I know not what form of subjection. For this expression of "subjection" 
has many significations in Holy Scripture, and is understood and used 
with many varieties of meaning. For the Psalmist says that even irrational 
nature is put in subjection, and brings under the same term those who are 
overcome in war, while the apostle bids servants to be in subjection to 
their own masters, and that those who are placed over the priesthood 
should have their children in subjection, as their disorderly conduct brings 
discredit upon their fathers, as in the case of the sons of Eli the priest. 
Again, he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, when we all, being 
united to one another by the faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in 
all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, when the adoration paid to 
the Son by all things with one accord, by things in heaven, and things on 
earth, and things under the earth, redounds to the glory of the Father; as 
Paul says elsewhere, "To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, 



258 

and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." For 
when this takes place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that the Son, 
Who is in all, is subject to the Father by virtue of the subjection of those 
in whom He is. What kind of "subjection once for all" Eunomius asserts of 
the Holy Spirit, it is thus impossible to learn from the phrase which he has 
thrown out, — whether he means the subjection of irrational creatures, or 
of captives, or of servants, or of children who are kept in order, or of those 
who are saved by subjection. For the subjection of men to God is salvation 
for those who are so made subject, according to the voice of the prophet, 
who says that his soul is subject to God, since of Him cometh salvation 
by subjection, so that subjection is the means of averting perdition. As 
therefore the help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the sick, so is 
subjection by those who are in need of salvation. But of what life does the 
Holy Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, that by subjection 
He should obtain salvation for Himself? Since then it is not on the strength 
of any Divine utterance that he asserts such an attribute of the Spirit, nor 
yet is it as a consequence of probable arguments that he has launched this 
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it must be plain at all events to 
sensible men that he vents his impiety against Him without any warrant 
whatsoever, unsupported as it is by any authority from Scripture or by 
any logical consequence. 

15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of Eunomius, who at times speaks of the 

Holy Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of the Son, and at other times 
confesses, by the operations attributed to Him, that He is God, and thus ends the 

book. 

He goes on to add, "Neither on the same level with the Father, nor 
connumerated with the Father (for God over all is one and only Father), 
nor on an equality with the Son, for the Son is only-begotten, having none 
begotten with Him." Well, for my own part, if he had only added to his 
previous statement the remark that the Holy Ghost is not the Father of 
the Son, I should even then have thought it idle for him to linger over what 
no one ever doubted, and forbid people to form notions of Him which not 
even the most witless would entertain. But since he endeavors to establish 
his impiety by irrelevant and unconnected statements, imagining that by 
denying the Holy Spirit to be the Father of the Only-begotten he makes 



259 

out that He is subject and subordinate, I therefore made mention of these 
words, as a proof of the folly of the man who imagines that he is 
demonstrating the Spirit to be subject to the Father on the ground that the 
Spirit is not Father of the Only -begotten. For what compels the 
conclusion, that if He be not Father, He must be subject? If it had been 
demonstrated that "Father" and "despot" were terms identical in meaning, 
it would no doubt have followed that, as absolute sovereignty was part of 
the conception of the Father, we should affirm that the Spirit is subject to 
Him Who surpassed Him in respect of authority. But if by "Father" is 
implied merely His relation to the Son, and no conception of absolute 
sovereignty or authority is involved by the use of the word, how does it 
follow, from the fact that the Spirit is not the Father of the Son, that the 
Spirit is subject to the Father? "Nor on an equality with the Son," he says. 
How comes he to say this? for to be, and to be unchangeable, and to admit 
no evil whatsoever, and to remain unalterably in that which is good, all this 
shows no variation in the case of the Son and of the Spirit. For the 
incorruptible nature of the Spirit is remote from corruption equally with 
that of the Son, and in the Spirit, just as in the Son, His essential goodness 
is absolutely apart flora its contrary, and in both alike their perfection in 
every good stands in need of no addition. 

Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to affirm all these attributes of the 
Spirit, when it predicates of the Spirit the terms "good," and "wise," and 
"incorruptible," and "immortal," and all such lofty conceptions and names 
as are properly applied to Godhead. If then He is inferior in none of these 
respects, by what means does Eunomius determine the inequality of the 
Son and the Spirit? "For the Son is," he tells us, "Only-begotten, having 
no brother begotten with Him." Well, the point, that we are not to 
understand the "Only-begotten" to have brethren, we have already 
discussed in our comments upon the phrase "first-born of all creation" But 
we ought not to leave unexamined the sense that Eunomius now unfairly 
attaches to the term. For while the doctrine of the Church declares that in 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost there is one power, and goodness, 
and essence, and glory, and the like, saving the difference of the Persons, 
this man, when he wishes to make the essence of the Only-begotten 
common to the creation, calls Him "the first-born of all creation" in 
respect of His pre-temporal existence, declaring by this mode of 



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expression that all conceivable objects in creation are in brotherhood with 
the Lord; for assuredly the first-born is not the first-born of those 
otherwise begotten, but of those begotten like Himself. But when he is 
bent upon severing the Spirit from union with the Son, he calls Him 
"Only-begotten, not having any brother begotten with Him," not with the 
object of conceiving of Him as without brethren, but that by the means of 
this assertion he may establish touching the Spirit His essential alienation 
from the Son. It is true that we learn from Holy Scripture not to speak of 
the Holy Ghost as brother of the Son: but that we are not to say that the 
Holy Ghost is homogeneous with the Son, is nowhere shown in the divine 
Scriptures. For if there does reside in the Father and the Son a life-giving 
power, it is ascribed also to the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the 
Gospel. If one may discern alike in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the 
properties of being incorruptible, immutable, of admitting no evil, of being 
good, right, guiding, of working all in all as He wills, and all the like 
attributes, how is it possible by identity in these respects to infer 
difference in kind? Accordingly the word of godliness agrees in affirming 
that we ought not to regard any kind of brotherhood as attaching to the 
Only-begotten; but to say that the Spirit is not homogeneous with the 
Son, the upright with the upright, the good with the good, the life-giving 
with the life-giving, this has been clearly demonstrated by logical inference 
to be a piece of heretical knavery. 

Why then is the majesty of the Spirit curtailed by such arguments as 
these? For there is nothing which can be the cause of producing in him 
deviation by excess or defect from conceptions such as befit the Godhead, 
nor, since all these are by Holy Scripture predicated equally of the Son and 
of the Holy Spirit, can he inform us wherein he discerns inequality to 
exist. But he launches his blasphemy against the Holy Ghost in its naked 
form, ill-prepared and unsupported by any consecutive argument. "Nor 
yet ranked," he says, "with any other: for He has gone above all the 
creatures that came into being by the instrumentality of the Son in mode of 
being, and nature, and glory, and knowledge, as the first and noblest work 
of the Only-begotten, the greatest and most glorious." I will leave, 
however, to others the task of ridiculing the bad taste and surplusage of his 
style, thinking as I do that it is unseemly for the gray baits of age, when 
dealing with the argument before us, to make vulgarity of expression an 



261 

objection against one who is guilty of impiety. I will just add to my 
investigation this remark. If the Spirit has "gone above" all the creations" 
of the Son, (for I will use his own ungrammatical and senseless phrase, or 
rather, to make things clearer, I will present his idea in my own language) if 
he transcends all things wrought by the Son, the Holy Spirit cannot be 
ranked with the rest of the creation; and if, as Eunomius says, he 
surpasses them by virtue of priority of birth, he must needs confess, in 
the case of the rest of creation, that the objects which are first in order of 
production are more to be esteemed than those which come after them. 
Now the creation of the irrational animals was prior to that of man. 
Accordingly he will of course declare that the irrational nature is more 
honorable than rational existence. So too, according to the argument of 
Eunomius, Cain will be proved superior to Abel, in that he was before him 
in time of birth, and so the stars will be shown to be lower and of less 
excellence than all the things that grow out of the earth; for these last 
sprang from the earth on the third day, and all the stars are recorded by 
Moses to have been created on the fourth. Well, surely no one is such a 
simpleton as to infer that the grass of the earth is more to be esteemed 
than the marvels of the sky, on the ground of its precedence in time, or to 
award the meed to Cain over Abel, or to place below the irrational animals 
man who came into being later than they. So there is no sense in our 
author' s contention that the nature of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of 
the creatures that came into being subsequently, on the ground that He 
came into being before they did. And now let us see what he who 
separates Him from fellowship with the Son is prepared to concede to the 
glory of the Spirit: "For he too," he says, "being one, and first and alone, 
and surpassing all the creations of the Son in essence and dignity of nature, 
accomplishing every operation and all teaching according to the good 
pleasure of the Son, being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and 
declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth." He speaks of 
the Holy Ghost as "accomplishing every operation and all teaching." What 
operation? Does he mean that which the Father and the Son execute, 
according to the word of the Lord Himself Who "hitherto worketh" man's 
salvation, or does he mean some other? For if His work is that named, He 
has assuredly the same power and nature as Him Who works it, and in 
such an one difference of kind from Deity can have no place. For just as, if 
anything should perform the functions of fire, shining and warming in 



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precisely the same way, it is itself certainly fire, so if the Spirit does the 
works of the Father, He must assuredly be acknowledged to be of the 
same nature with Him. If on the other hand He operates something else 
than our salvation, and displays His operation in a contrary direction, He 
will thereby be proved to be of a different nature and essence. But 
Eunomius' statement itself bears witness that the Spirit quickeneth in like 
manner with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, from the identity of 
operations it results assuredly that the Spirit is not alien from the nature 
of the Father and the Son. And to the statement that the Spirit 
accomplishes the operation and teaching of the Father according to the 
good pleasure of the Son we assent. For the community of nature gives us 
warrant that the will of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is 
one, and thus, if the Holy Spirit wills that which seems good to the Son, 
the community of will clearly points to unity of essence. But he goes on, 
"being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who 
are instructed, and guiding into truth." If he had not previously said what 
he has concerning the Spirit, the reader would surely have supposed that 
these words applied to some human teacher. For to receive a mission is the 
same thing as to be sent, and to have nothing of one's own, but to receive 
of the free favor of him who gives the mission, and to minister his words 
to those who are under instruction, and to be a guide into truth for those 
that are astray. All these things, which Eunomius is good enough to allow 
to the Holy Spirit, belong to the present pastors and teachers of the 
Church, — to be sent, to receive, to announce, to teach, to suggest the 
truth. Now, as he had said above "He is one, and first, and alone, and 
surpassing all," had be but stopped there, he would have appeared as a 
defender of the doctrines of truth. For He Who is indivisibly contemplated 
in the One is most truly One, and first Who is in the First, and alone Who 
is in the Only One. For as the spirit of man that is in him, and the man 
himself, are but one man, so also the Spirit of God which is in Him, and 
God Himself, would properly be termed One God, and First and Only, 
being incapable of separation from Him in Whom He is. But as things are, 
with his addition of his profane phrase, "surpassing all the creatures of the 
Son," he produces turbid confusion by assigning to Him Who "breatheth 
where He willeth," and "worketh all in all," a mere superiority in 
comparison with the rest of created things. 



263 

Let us now see further what he adds to this "sanctifying the saints." If any 
one says this also of the Father and of the Son, he will speak truly. For 
those in whom the Holy One dwells, He makes holy, even as the Good 
One makes men good. And the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are 
holy and good, as has been shown. "Acting as a guide to those who 
approach the mystery." This may well be said of Apollos who watered 
what Paul planted. For the Apostle plants by his guidance, and Apollos, 
when he baptizes, waters by Sacramental regeneration, bringing to the 
mystery those who were instructed by Paul. Thus he places on a level 
with Apollos that Spirit Who perfects men through baptism. "Distributing 
every gift." With this we too agree; for everything that is good is a portion 
of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. "Co-operating with the faithful for the 
understanding and contemplation of things appointed." As he does not add 
by whom they are appointed, he leaves his meaning doubtful, whether it is 
correct or the reverse. But we will by a slight addition advance his 
statement so as to make it consistent with godliness. For since, whether it 
be the word of wisdom, or the word of knowledge, or faith, or help, or 
government, or aught else that is enumerated in the lists of saving gifts, "all 
these worketh that one and the self- same Spirit, dividing to every man 
severally as He will," we therefore do not reject the statement of 
Eunomius when he says that the Spirit "co-operates with the faithful for 
understanding and contemplation of things appointed" by Him, because 
by Him all good teachings are appointed for us. "Sounding an 
accompaniment to those who pray." It would be foolish seriously to 
examine the meaning of this expression, of which the ludicrous and 
meaningless character is at once manifest to all. For who is so demented 
and beside himself as to wait for us to tell him that the Holy Spirit is not a 
bell nor an empty cask sounding an accompaniment and made to ring by 
the voice of him who prays as it were by a blow? "Leading us to that 
which is expedient for us." This the Father and the Son likewise do: for 
"He leadeth Joseph like a sheep," and, "led His people like sheep," and, 
"the good Spirit leadeth us in a land of righteousness." "Strengthening us 
to godliness." To strengthen man to godliness David says is the work of 
God; "For Thou art my strength and my refuge," says the Psalmist, and 
"the Lord is the strength of His people," and, "He shall give strength and 
power unto His people." If then the expressions of Eunomius are meant in 
accordance with the mind of the Psalmist, they are a testimony to the 



264 

Divinity of the Holy Ghost: but if they are opposed to the word of 
prophecy, then by this very fact a charge of blasphemy lies against 
Eunomius, because he sets up his own opinions in opposition to the holy 
prophets. Next he says, "Lightening souls with the light of knowledge." 
This grace also the doctrine of godliness ascribes alike to the Father, to the 
Son, and to the Holy Ghost. For He is called a light by David, and from 
thence the light of knowledge shines in them who are enlightened. In like 
manner also the cleansing of our thoughts of which the statement speaks is 
proper to the power of the Lord. For it was "the brightness of the 
Father's glory, and the express image of His person," Who "purged our 
sins." Again, to banish devils, which Eunomius says is a property of the 
Spirit, this also the only-begotten God, Who said to the devil, "I charge 
thee ascribes to the power of the Spirit, when He says, "If I by the Spirit 
of God cast out devils," so that the expulsion of devils is not destructive 
of the glory of the Spirit, but rather a demonstration of His divine and 
transcendent power. "Healing the sick," he says, "curing the infirm, 
comforting the afflicted, raising up those who stumble, recovering the 
distressed." These are the words of those who think reverently of the 
Holy Ghost, for no one would ascribe the operation of any one of these 
effects to any one except to God. If then heresy affirms that those things 
which it belongs to none save God alone to effect, are wrought by the 
power of the Spirit, we have in support of the truths for which we are 
contending the witness even of our adversaries. How does the Psalmist 
seek his healing from God, saying, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I 
am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my hones are vexed!" It is to God that 
Isaiah says, "The dew that is from Thee is healing unto them." Again, 
prophetic language attests that the conversion of those in error is the work 
of God. For "they went astray in the wilderness in a thirsty land," says 
the Psalmist, and he adds, "So He led them forth by the right way, that 
they might go to the city where they dwelt:" and, "when the Lord turned 
again the captivity of Sion." In like manner also the comfort of the afflicted 
is ascribed to God, Paul thus speaking, "Blessed be God, even the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation." Again, 
the Psalmist says, speaking in the person of God "Thou calledst upon Me 
in trouble and I delivered thee." And the setting upright of those who 
stumble is innumerable times ascribed by Scripture to the power of the 
Lord: "Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the Lord was my 



265 

help," and "Though he fall, he shall not be cast away, for the Lord 
upholdeth him with His hand," and "The Lord helpeth them that are 
fallen." And to the loving-kindness of God confessedly belongs the 
recovery of the distressed, if Eunomius means the same thing of which we 
learn in prophecy, as the Scripture says, "Thou laidest trouble upon our 
loins; Thou sufferedst men to ride over our heads; we went through fire 
and water, and Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." 

Thus far then the majesty of the Spirit is demonstrated by the evidence of 
our opponents, but in what follows the limpid waters of devotion are once 
more defiled by the mud of heresy. For he says of the Spirit that He 
"cheers on those who are contending": and this phrase involves him in the 
charge of extreme folly and impiety. For in the stadium some have the task 
of arranging the competitions between those who intend to show their 
athletic vigor; others, who surpass the rest in strength and skill, strive for 
the victory and strip to contend with one another, while the rest, taking 
sides in their good wishes with one or other of the competitors, according 
as they are severally disposed towards or interested in one athlete or 
another, cheer him on at the time of the engagement, and bid him guard 
against some hurt, or remember some trick of wrestling, or keep himself 
unthrown by the help of his art. Take note from what has been said to 
how low a rank Eunomius degrades the Holy Spirit. For while on the 
course there are some who arrange the contests, and others who settle 
whether the contest is conducted according to rule, others who are actually 
engaged, and yet others who cheer on the competitors, who are 
acknowledged to be far inferior to the athletes themselves, Eunomius 
considers the Holy Spirit as one of the mob who look on, or as one of 
those who attend upon the athletes, seeing that He neither determines the 
contest nor awards the victory, nor contends with the adversary, but 
merely cheers without contributing at all to the victory. For He neither 
joins in the fray, nor does He implant the power to contend, but merely 
wishes that the athlete in whom He is interested may not come off second 
in the strife. And so Paul wrestles "against principalities, against powers, 
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual 
wickedness in high places," while the Spirit of power does not strengthen 
the combatants nor distribute to them His gifts, "dividing to every man 



266 

severally as He will", but His influence is limited to cheering on those who 
are engaged. 

Again he says, "Emboldening the faint-hearted." And here, while in 
accordance with his own method he follows his previous blasphemy 
against the Spirit, the truth for all that manifests itself, even through 
unfriendly lips. For to none other than to God does it belong to implant 
courage in the fearful, saying to the faint-hearted, "Fear not, for I am with 
thee, be not dismayed," as says the Psalmist, "Yea though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." 
Nay, the Lord Himself says to the fearful, — "Let not your heart be 
troubled, neither let it be afraid," and, a Why are ye fearful, O ye of little 
faith?" and, "Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid," and again, "Be of 
good cheer: I have overcome the world" Accordingly, even though this 
may not have been the intention of Eunomius, orthodoxy asserts itself by 
means even of the voice of an enemy. And the next sentence agrees with 
that which went before: — "Caring for all, and showing all concern and 
forethought." For in fact it belongs to God alone to care and to take 
thought for all, as the mighty David has expressed it, "I am poor and 
needy, but the Lord careth for me." And if what remains seems to be 
resolved into empty words, with sound and without sense, let no one find 
fault, seeing that in most of what he says, so far as any sane meaning is 
concerned, he is feeble and untutored. For what on earth he means when he 
says, "for the onward leading of the better disposed and the guardianship 
of the more faithful," neither he himself, nor they who senselessly admire 
his follies, could possibly tell us. 



267 



BOOK III 



1. This third book shows a third fall of Eunomius, as refuting himself, and 

sometimes saying that the Son is to be called Only-begotten in virtue of, natural 

generation, and that Holy Scripture proves this from the first; at other times, that 

by reason of His being created He should not be called a Son, but a "product," or 

"creature." 

If, when a man "strives lawfully," he finds a limit to his struggle in the 
contest by his adversary's either refusing the struggle, and withdrawing of 
his own accord in favor of his conqueror from his effort for victory, or 
being thrown according to the rules of wrestling in three falls (whereby the 
glory of the crown is bestowed with all the splendor of proclamation upon 
him who has proved victorious in the umpire's judgment), then, since 
Eunomius, though he has been already twice thrown in our previous 
arguments, does not consent that truth should hold the tokens of her 
victory over falsehood, but yet a third time raises the dust against godly 
doctrine in his accustomed arena of falsehood with his composition, 
strengthening himself for his struggle on the side of deceit, our statement 
of truth must also be now called forth to put his falsehood to rout, placing 
its hopes in Him Who is the Giver and the Judge of victory, and at the 
same time deriving strength from the very unfairness of the adversaries' 
tricks of wrestling. For we are not ashamed to confess that we have 
prepared for our contest no weapon of argument sharpened by rhetoric, 
that we can bring forward to aid us in the fight with those arrayed against 
us, no cleverness or sharpness of dialectic, such as with inexperienced 
judges lays even on truth the suspicion of falsehood. One strength our 
reasoning against falsehood has — first the very Word Himself, Who is the 
might of our word, and in the next place the rottenness of the arguments 
set against us, which is overthrown and falls by its own spontaneous 
action. Now in order that it may be made as clear as possible to all men, 
that the very efforts Of Eunomius serve as means for his own overthrow 
to those who contend with him, I will set forth to my readers his phantom 
doctrine (for so I think that doctrine may be called which is quite outside 
the truth), and I would have you all, who are present at our struggle, and 



268 

watch the encounter now taking place between my doctrine and that which 
is matched with it, to be just judges of the lawful striving of our 
arguments, that by your just award the reasoning of godliness may be 
proclaimed as victor to the whole theater of the Church, having won 
undisputed victory over ungodliness, and being decorated, in virtue of the 
three falls of its enemy, with the unfading crown of them that are saved. 
Now this statement is set forth against the truth by way of preface to his 
third discourse, and this is the fashion of it: — "Preserving," he says, 
"natural order, and abiding by those things which are known to us from 
above, we do not refuse to speak of the Son, seeing He is begotten, even 
by the name of 'product of generation,' since the generated essence and the 
appellation of Son make such a relation of words appropriate." I beg the 
reader to give his attention carefully to this point, that while he calls God 
both "begotten" and "Son," he refers the reason of such names to "natural 
order," and calls to witness to this conception the knowledge possessed 
from above: so that if anything should be found in the course of what 
follows contrary to the positions be has laid down, it is clear to all that he 
is overthrown by himself, refuted by his own arguments before ours are 
brought against him. And so let us consider his statement in the light of his 
own words. He confesses that the name of "Son" would by no means be 
properly applied to the Only-begotten God, did not "natural order," as he 
says, confirm the appellation. If, then, one were to withdraw the order of 
nature from the consideration of the designation of "Son," his use of this 
name, being deprived of its proper and natural significance, will be 
meaningless. And moreover the fact that he says these statements are 
confirmed, in that they abide by the knowledge possessed from above, is a 
strong additional support to the orthodox view touching the designation of 
"Son," seeing that the inspired teaching of the Scriptures, which comes to 
us from above, confirms our argument on these matters. If these things are 
so, and this is a standard of truth that admits of no deception, that these 
two concur — the "natural order," as he says, and the testimony of the 
knowledge given from above confirming the natural interpretation — it is 
clear, that to assert anything contrary to these, is nothing else than 
manifestly to fight against the truth itself. Let us hear again what this 
writer, who makes nature his instructor in the matter of this name, and 
says that he abides by the knowledge given to us from above by the 
instruction of the saints, sets out at length a little further on, after the 



269 

passage I have just quoted. For I will pretermit for the time the continuous 
recital of what is set next in order in his treatise, that the contradiction in 
what he has written may not escape detection, being veiled by the reading 
of the intervening matter. "The same argument," he says, "will apply also 
in the case of what is made and created, as both the natural interpretation 
and the mutual relation of the things, and also the use of the saints, give us 
free authority for the use of the formula: wherefore one would not be 
wrong in treating the thing made as corresponding to the maker, and the 
thing created to the creator." Of what product of making or of creation 
does he speak, as having naturally the relation expressed in its name 
towards its maker and creator? If of those we contemplate in the creation, 
visible and invisible (as Paul recounts, when he says that by Him all things 
were created, visible and invisible), so that this relative conjunction of 
names has a proper and special application, that which is made being set in 
relation to the maker, that which is created to the creator, — if this is his 
meaning, we agree with him. For in fact, since the Lord is the Maker of 
angels, the angel is assuredly a thing made by Him that made him: and 
since the Lord is the Creator of the world, clearly the world itself and all 
that is therein are called the creature of Him that created them. If however 
it is with this intention that he makes his interpretation of "natural order," 
systematizing the appropriation of relative terms with a view to their 
mutual relation in verbal sense, even thus it would be an extraordinary 
thing, seeing that every one is aware of this, that he should leave his 
doctrinal statement to draw out for us a system of grammatical trivialities. 
But if it is to the Only-begotten God that he applies such phrases, so as to 
say that He is a thing made by Him that made Him, a creature of Him that 
created Him, and to refer this terminology to "the use of the saints," let 
him first of all show us in his statement what saints he says there are who 
declared the Maker of all things to be a product and a creature, and whom 
he follows in this audacity of phrase. The Church knows as saints those 
whose hearts were divinely guided by the Holy Spirit, — patriarchs, 
lawgivers, prophets, evangelists, apostles. If any among these is found to 
declare in his inspired words that God over all, Who "upholds all things 
with the word of His power," and grasps with His hand all things that are, 
and by Himself called the universe into being by the mere act of His will, 
is a thing created and a product, he will stand excused, as following, as he 
says, the "use of the saints" in proceeding to formulate such doctrines. 



270 

But if the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is freely placed within the 
reach of all, and nothing is forbidden to or hidden from any of those who 
choose to share in the divine instruction, how comes it that he endeavors 
to lead his hearers astray by his misrepresentation of the Scriptures, 
referring the term "creature," applied to the Only-begotten, to "the use of 
the saints"? For that by Him all things were made, you may hear almost 
from the whole of their holy utterance, from Moses and the prophets and 
apostles who come after him, whose particular expressions it would be 
tedious here to set forth. Enough for our purpose, with the others, and 
above the others, is the sublime John, where in the preface to his discourse 
on the Divinity of the Only -begotten he proclaims aloud the fact that there 
is none of the things that were made which was not made through Him, a 
fact which is an incontestable and positive proof of His being Lord of the 
creation, not reckoned in the list of created things. For if all things that are 
made exist by no other but by Him (and John bears witness that nothing 
among the things that are, throughout the creation, was made without 
Him), who is so blinded in understanding as not to see in the Evangelist's 
proclamation the truth, that He Who made all the creation is assuredly 
something else besides the creation? For if all that is numbered among the 
things that were made has its being through Him, while He Himself is" in 
the beginning," and is" with God," being God, and Word, and Life, and 
Light, and express Image, and Brightness, and if none of the things that 
were made throughout creation is named by the same names — (not Word, 
not God, not Life, not Light, not Truth not express Image, not Brightness, 
not any of the other names proper to the Deity is to be found employed 
of the creation) — then it is clear that He Who is these things is by nature 
something else besides the creation, which neither is nor is called any of 
these things. If, indeed, there existed in such phrases an identity of names 
between the creation and its Maker, he might perhaps be excused for 
making the name of "creation" also common to the thing created and to 
Him Who made it, on the ground of the community of the other names: 
but if the characteristics which are contemplated by means of the names, 
in the created and in the uncreated nature, are in no case reconcilable or 
common to both, how can the misrepresentation of that man fail to be 
manifest to all, who dares to apply the name of servitude to Him Who, as 
the Psalmist declares, "ruleth with His power for ever," and to bring Him 
Who, as the Apostle says, "in all things hath the pre-eminence," to a level 



271 

with the servile nature, by means of the name and conception of 
"creation"? For that all the creation is in bondage the great Paul declares, 
— he who in the schools above the heavens was instructed in that 
knowledge which may not be spoken, learning these things in that place 
where every voice that conveys meaning by verbal utterance is still, and 
where unspoken meditation becomes the word of instruction, teaching to 
the purified heart by means of the silent illumination of the thoughts those 
truths which transcend speech. If then on the one hand Paul proclaims 
aloud "the creation is in bondage," and on the other the Only-begotten 
God is truly Lord and God over all, and John bears witness to the fact that 
the whole creation of the things that were made is by Him, how can any 
one, who is in any sense whatever numbered among Christians, hold his 
peace when he sees Eunomius, by his inconsistent and inconsequent 
systematizing, degrading to the humble state of the creature, by means of 
an identity of name: that tends to servitude, that power of Lordship which 
surpasses all rule and all authority? And if he says that he has some of the 
saints who declared Him to be a slave, or created, or made, or any of these 
lowly and servile names, lo, here are the Scriptures. Let him, or some other 
on his behalf, produce to us one such phrase, and we will hold our peace. 
But if there is no such phrase (and there could never be found in those 
inspired Scriptures which we believe any such thought as to support this 
impiety), what need is there to strive further upon points admitted with 
one who not only misrepresents the words of the saints, but even 
contends against his own definitions? For if the "order of nature," as he 
himself admits, bears additional testimony to the Son's name by reason of 
His being begotten, and thus the correspondence of the name is according 
to the relation of the Begotten to the Begetter, how comes it that he wrests 
the significance of the word "Son" from its natural application, and 
changes the relation to "the thing made and its maker" — a relation which 
applies not only in the case of the elements of the universe, but might also 
be asserted of a gnat or an ant — that in so far as each of these is a thing 
made, the relation of its name to its maker is similarly equivalent? The 
blasphemous nature of his doctrine is clear, not only from many other 
passages, but even from those quoted: and as for that "use of the saints" 
which he alleges that he follows in these expressions, it is clear that there 
is no such use at all. 



272 

2. He then once more excellently, approximately, and clearly examines and 
expounds the passage, "The Lord created Me." 

Perhaps that passage in the Proverbs might be brought forward against us 
which the champions of heresy are wont to cite as a testimony that the 
Lord was created — the passage," The Lord created me in the beginning of 
His ways, for His works." For because these words are spoken by 
Wisdom, and the Lord is called Wisdom by the great Paul, they allege this 
passage as though the Only-begotten God Himself, under the name of 
Wisdom, acknowledges that He was created by the Maker of all things. I 
imagine, however, that the godly sense of this utterance is clear to 
moderately attentive and painstaking persons, so that, in the case of those 
who are instructed in the dark sayings of the Proverbs, no injury is done to 
the doctrine of the faith. Yet I think it well briefly to discuss what is to be 
said on this subject, that when the intention of this passage is more clearly 
explained, the heretical doctrine may have no room for boldness of speech 
on the ground that it has evidence in the writing of the inspired author. It 
is universally admitted that the name of "proverb," in its scriptural use, is 
not applied with regard to the evident sense, but is used with a view to 
some hidden meaning, as the Gospel thus gives the name of "proverbs" to 
dark and obscure sayings; so that the "proverb," if one were to set forth 
the interpretation of the name by a definition, is a form of speech which, 
by means of one set of ideas immediately presented, points to something 
else which is hidden, or a form of speech which does not point out the aim 
of the thought directly, but gives its instruction by an indirect 
signification. Now to this book such a name is especially attached as a 
title, and the force of the appellation is at once interpreted in the preface 
by the wise Solomon. For he does not call the sayings in this book 
"maxims," or "counsels," or "clear instruction," but "proverbs," and 
proceeds to add an explanation. What is the force of the signification of 
this word? "To know," he tells us, "wisdom and instruction"; not setting 
before us the course of instruction in wisdom according to the method 
common in other kinds of learning; he bids a man, on the other hand, first 
to become wise by previous training, and then so to receive the instruction 
conveyed by proverb. For he tells us that there are "words of wisdom" 
which reveal their aim "by a turn." For that which is not directly 
understood needs some turn for the apprehension of the thing concealed; 



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and as Paul, when about to exchange the literal sense of the history for 
figurative contemplation, says that he will "change his voice," so here the 
manifestation of the hidden meaning is called by Solomon a "turn of the 
saying," as if the beauty of the thoughts could not be perceived, unless one 
were to obtain a view of the revealed brightness of the thought by turning 
the apparent meaning of the saying round about, as happens with the 
plumage with which the peacock is decked behind. For in him, one who 
sees the back of his plumage quite despises it for its want of beauty and 
tint, as a mean sight; but if one were to turn it round and show him the 
other view of it, he then sees the varied painting of nature, the half-circle 
shining in the midst with its dye of purple, and the golden mist round the 
circle ringed round and glistening at its edge with its many rainbow hues. 
Since then there is no beauty in what is obvious in the saying (for "all the 
glory of the king's daughter is within," shining with its hidden ornament in 
golden thoughts), Solomon of necessity suggests to the readers of this 
book "the turn of the saying," that thereby they may "understand a 
parable and a dark saying, words of the wise and riddles." Now as this 
proverbial teaching embraces these elements, a reasonable man will not 
receive any passage cited from this book, be it never so clear and 
intelligible at first sight, without examination and inspection; for assuredly 
there is some mystical contemplation underlying even those passages 
which seem manifest. And if the obvious passages of the work necessarily 
demand a somewhat minute scrutiny, how much more do those passages 
require it where even immediate apprehension presents to us much that is 
obscure and difficult? 

Let us then begin our examination from the context of the passage in 
question, and see whether the reading of the neighboring clauses gives any 
clear sense. The discourse describes Wisdom as uttering certain sayings in 
her own person. Every student knows what is said in the passage where 
Wisdom makes counsel her dwelling-place, and calls to her knowledge and 
understanding, and says that she has as a possession strength and 
prudence (while she is herself called intelligence), and that she walks in the 
ways of righteousness and has her conversation in the ways of just 
judgment, and declares that by her kings reign, and princes write the decree 
of equity, and monarchs win possession of their own land. Now every one 
will see that the considerate reader will receive none of the phrases quoted 



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without scrutiny according to the obvious sense. For if by her kings are 
advanced to their rule, and if from her monarchy derives its strength, it 
follows of necessity that Wisdom is displayed to us as a king-maker, and 
transfers to herself the blame of those who bear evil rule in their kingdoms. 
But we know of kings who in truth advance under the guidance of Wisdom 
to the rule that has no end — the poor in spirit, whose possession is the 
kingdom of heaven, as the Lord promises, Who is the Wisdom of the 
Gospel: and such also we recognize as the princes who bear rule over their 
passions, who are not enslaved by the dominion of sin, who inscribe the 
decree of equity upon their own life, as it were upon a tablet. Thus, too, 
that laudable despotism which changes, by the alliance of Wisdom, the 
democracy of the passions into the monarchy of reason, brings into 
bondage what were running unrestrained into mischievous liberty, I mean 
all carnal and earthly thoughts: for "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit," 
and rebels against the government of the soul. Of this land, then, such a 
monarch wins possession, whereof he was, according to the first creation, 
appointed as ruler by the Word. 

Seeing then that all reasonable men admit that these expressions are to be 
read in such a sense as this, rather than in that which appears in the words 
at first sight, it is consequently probable that the phrase we are discussing, 
being written in close connection with them, is not received by prudent 
men absolutely and without examination. "If I declare to you," she says, 
"the things that happen day by day, I will remember to recount the things 
from everlasting: the Lord created me." What pray, has the slave of the 
literal text, who sits listening closely to the sound of the syllables, like the 
Jews, to say to this phrase? Does not the conjunction, "If I declare to you 
the things that happen day by day, the Lord created me," ring strangely in 
the ears of those who listen attentively? as though, if she did not declare 
the things that happen day by day, she will by consequence deny 
absolutely that she was created. For he who says, "If I declare, I was 
created." leaves you by his silence to understand, "I was not created, if I 
do not declare." "The Lord created me," she says, "in the beginning of His 
ways, for His works. He set me up from everlasting, in the beginning, 
before He made the earth, before He made the depths, before the springs 
of the waters came forth, before the mountains were settled, before all 
hills, He begetteth me." What new order of the formation of a creature is 



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this? First it is created, and after that it is set up, and then it is begotten. 
"The Lord made," she says, "lands, even uninhabited, and the inhabited 
extremes of the earth under heaven." Of what Lord does she speak as the 
maker of land both uninhabited and inhabited? Of Him surely, who made 
wisdom. For both the one saying and the other are uttered by the same 
person; both that which says, "the Lord created me," and that which adds, 
"the Lord made land, even uninhabited." Thus the Lord will be the maker 
equally of both, of Wisdom herself, and of the inhabited and uninhabited 
land. What then are we to make of the saying, "All things were made by 
Him, and without Him was not anything made"? For if one and the same 
Lord creates both Wisdom (which they advise us to understand of the 
Son), and also the particular things which are included in the Creation, how 
does the sublime John speak truly, when he says that all things were made 
by Him? For this Scripture gives a contrary sound to that of the Gospel, 
in ascribing to the Creator of Wisdom the making of land uninhabited and 
inhabited. So, too, with all that follows: — she speaks of a Throne of God 
set apart upon the winds, and says that the clouds above are made strong, 
and the fountains under the heaven sure; and the context contains many 
similar expressions, demanding in a marked degree that interpretation by a 
minute and clear-sighted intelligence, which is to be observed in the 
passages already quoted. What is the throne that is set apart upon the 
winds? What is the security of the fountains under the heaven? How are 
the clouds above made strong? If any one should interpret the passage 
with reference to visible objects, he will find that the facts are at 
considerable variance with the words. For who knows not that the extreme 
parts of the earth under heaven, by excess in one direction or in the other, 
either by being too close to the sun's heat, or by being too far removed 
from it, are uninhabitable; some being excessively dry and parched, other 
parts superabounding in moisture, and chilled by frost, and that only so 
much is inhabited as is equally removed from the extreme of each of the 
two opposite conditions? But if it is the midst of the earth that is 
occupied by man, how does the proverb say that the extremes of the earth 
under heaven are inhabited? Again, what strength could one perceive in the 
clouds, that that passage may have a true sense, according to its apparent 
intention, which says that the clouds above have been made strong? For 
the nature of cloud is a sort of rather slight vapor diffused through the air, 
which, being light, by reason of its great subtilty, is borne on the breath of 



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the air, and, when forced together by compression, falls down through the 
air that held it up, in the form of a heavy drop of rain. What then is the 
strength in these, which offer no resistance to the touch? For in the cloud 
you may discern the slight and easily dissolved character of air. Again, 
how is the Divine throne set apart on the winds that are by nature 
unstable? And as for her saying at first that she is "created," finally, that 
she is "begotten," and between these two utterances that she is" set up," 
what account of this could any one profess to give that would agree with 
the common and obvious sense? The point also on which a doubt was 
previously raised in our argument, the declaring, that is, of the things that 
happen day by day, and the remembering to recount the things from 
everlasting, is, as it were, a condition of Wisdom's assertion that she was 
created by God. 

Thus, since it has been clearly shown by what bus been said, that no part 
of this passage is such that its language should be received without 
examination and reflection, it may be well, perhaps, as with the rest, so 
not to interpret the text, "The Lord created me," according to that sense 
which immediately presents itself to us from the phrase, but to seek with 
all attention and care what is to be piously understood from the utterance. 
Now, to apprehend perfectly the sense of the passage before us, would 
seem to belong only to those who search out the depths by the aid of the 
Holy Spirit, and know how to speak in the Spirit the divine mysteries: our 
account, however, will only busy itself with the passage in question so far 
as not to leave its drift entirely unconsidered. What, then, is our account? 
It is not, I think, possible that that wisdom which arises in any man from 
divine illumination should come alone, apart from the other gifts of the 
Spirit, but there must needs enter in therewith also the grace of prophecy. 
For if the apprehension of the truth of the things that are is the peculiar 
power of wisdom, and prophecy includes the clear knowledge of the 
things that are about to be, one would not be possessed of the gift of 
wisdom in perfection, if he did not further include in his knowledge, by the 
aid of prophecy, the future likewise. Now, since it is not mere human 
wisdom that is claimed for himself by Solomon, who says, "God hath 
taught me wisdom," and who, where he says "all my words are spoken 
from God," refers to God all that is spoken by himself, it might be well in 
this part of the Proverbs to trace out the prophecy that is mingled with his 



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wisdom. But we say that in the earlier part of the book, where he says 
that "Wisdom has builded herself a house" he refers darkly in, these words 
to the preparation of the flesh of the Lord: for the trite Wisdom did not 
dwell in another's building, but built for Itself that dwelling-place from the 
body of the Virgin. Here, however, he adds to his discourse that which of 
both is made one — of the house, I mean, and of the Wisdom which built 
the house, that is to say, of the Humanity and of the Divinity that was 
commingled with man; and to each of these he applies suitable and fitting 
terms, as you may see to be the case also in the Gospels, where the 
discourse, proceeding as befits its subject, employs the more lofty and 
divine phraseology to indicate the Godhead, and that which is humble and 
lowly to indicate the Manhood. So we may see in this passage also 
Solomon prophetically moved, and delivering to us in its fullness the 
mystery of the Incarnation. For we speak first of the eternal power and 
energy of Wisdom; and here the evangelist, to a certain extent, agrees with 
him in his very words. For as the latter in his comprehensive phrase 
proclaimed Him to be the cause and Maker of all things, so Solomon says 
that by Him were made those individual things which are included in the 
whole. For he tells us that God by Wisdom established the earth, and in 
understanding prepared the heavens, and all that follows these in order, 
keeping to the same sense: and that he might not seem to pass over 
without mention the gift of excellence in men, he again goes on to say, 
speaking in the person of Wisdom, the words we mentioned a little earlier; 
I mean, "I made counsel my dwelling-place, and knowledge, and 
understanding," and all that relates to instruction in intellect and 
knowledge. 

After recounting these and the like matters, he proceeds to introduce also 
his teaching concerning the dispensation with regard to man, why the 
Word was made flesh. For seeing that it is clear to all that God Who is 
over all has in Himself nothing as a thing created or imported, not power 
nor wisdom, nor light, nor word, nor life, nor truth, nor any at all of those 
things which are contemplated in the fullness of the Divine bosom (all 
which things the Only-begotten God is, Who is in the bosom of the 
Father, the name of "creation" could not properly be applied to any of 
those things which are contemplated in God, so that the Son Who is in the 
Father, or the Word Who is in the Beginning, or the Light Who is in the 



278 

Light, or the Life Who is in the Life, or the Wisdom Who is in the 
Wisdom, should say, "the Lord created me." For if the Wisdom of God is 
created (and Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God), God, it 
would follow, has His Wisdom as a thing imported, receiving afterwards, 
as the result of making, something which He had not at first. But surely 
He Who is in the bosom of the Father does not permit us to conceive the 
bosom of the Father as ever void of Himself. He Who is in the beginning is 
surely not of the things which come to be in that bosom from without, but 
being the fullness of all good, He is conceived as being always in the 
Father, not waiting to arise in Him as the result of creation, so that the 
Father should not be conceived as at any time void of good, but He Who is 
conceived as being in the eternity of the Father' s Godhead is always in 
Him, being Power, and Life, and Truth, and Wisdom, and the like. 
Accordingly the words "created me" do not proceed from the Divine and 
immortal nature, but from that which was commingled with it in the 
Incarnation from our created nature. How comes it then that the same, 
called wisdom, and understanding, and intelligence, establishes the earth, 
and prepares the heavens, and breaks up the deeps, and yet is here 
"created for the beginning of His works"? Such a dispensation, he tells us, 
is not set forward without great cause. But since men, after receiving the 
commandment of the things we should observe, cast away by disobedience 
the grace of memory, and became forgetful, for this cause, "that I may 
declare to you the things that happen day by day for your salvation, and 
may put you in mind by recounting the things from everlasting, which you 
have forgotten (for it is no new gospel that I now proclaim, but I labor at 
your restoration to your first estate), — for this cause I was created, Who 
ever am, and need no creation in order to be; so that I am the beginning of 
ways for the works of God, that is for men. For the first way being 
destroyed, there must needs again be consecrated for the wanderers a new 
and living way, even I myself, Who am the way." And this view, that the 
sense of "created me" has reference to the Humanity, the divine apostle 
more clearly sets before us by his own words when he charges us, "Put ye 
on the Lord Jesus Christ," and also where (using the same word) he says, 
"Put on the new man which after God is created" For if the garment of 
salvation is one, and that is Christ, one cannot say that "the new man, 
which after God is created," is any other than Christ, but it is clear that he 
who has "put on Christ" has "put on the new man which after God is 



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created." For actually He alone is properly named "the new man," Who 
did not appear in the life of man by the known and ordinary ways of 
nature, but in His case alone creation, in a strange and special form, was 
instituted anew. For this reason he haines the same Person, when regarding 
the wonderful manner of His birth, "the new man, which after God is 
created," and, when looking to the Divine nature, which was blended in the 
creation of this "new man," he calls Him "Christ": so that the two names 
(I mean the name of "Christ" and the name of "the new man which after 
God is created") are applied to one and the same Person, 

Since, then, Christ is Wisdom, let the intelligent reader consider our 
opponent's account of the matter, and our own, and judge which is the 
more pious, which better preserves in the text those conceptions which are 
befitting the Divine nature; whether that which declares the Creator and 
Lord of all to have been made, and places Him on a level with the creation 
that is in bondage, or that rather which looks to the Incarnation, and 
preserves the due proportion with regard to our conception alike of the 
Divinity and of the Humanity, bearing in mind that the great Paul testifies 
in favor of our view, who sees in the "new man" creation, and in the true 
Wisdom the power of creation. And, further, the order of the passage 
agrees with this view of the doctrine it conveys. For if the "beginning of 
the ways" bad not been created among us, the foundation of those ages for 
which we look would not have been laid; nor would the Lord have become 
for us "the Father of the age to come, "had not a Child been born to us, 
according to Isaiah, and His name been called, both all the other titles 
which the prophet gives Him, and withal" The Father of the age to come." 
Thus first there came to pass the mystery wrought in virginity, and the 
dispensation of the Passion, and then the wise master-builders of the Faith 
laid the foundation of the Faith: and this is Christ, the Father of the age to 
come, on Whom is built the life of the ages that have no end. And when 
this has come to pass, to the end that in each individual believer may be 
wrought the divine decrees of the Gospel law, and the varied gifts of the 
Holy Spirits — (all which the divine Scripture figuratively names, with a 
suitable significance, "mountains" and "hills," calling righteousness the 
"mountains" of God, and speaking of His judgments as "deeps," and 
giving the name of "earth" to that which is sown by the Word and brings 
forth abundant fruit; or in that sense in which we are taught by David to 



280 

understand peace by the "mountains," and righteousness by the "hills"), 
— Wisdom is begotten in the faithful, and the saying is found true. For He 
Who is in those who have received Him, is not yet begotten in the 
unbelieving. Thus, that these things may be wrought in us, their Maker 
must be begotten in us. For if Wisdom is begotten in us, then in each of us 
is prepared by God both land, and land uninhabited, — the land, that 
which receives the sowing and the ploughing of the Word, the uninhabited 
land, the heart cleared of evil inhabitants, — and thus our dwelling will be 
upon the extreme parts of the earth. For since in the earth some is depth, 
and some is surface, when a man is not buried in the earth, or, as it were, 
dwelling in a cave by reason of thinking of things beneath (as is the life of 
those who live in sin, who "stick fast in the deep mire where no ground 
is," whose life is truly a pit, as the Psalm says, "let not the pit shut her 
mouth upon me") — if, I say, a man, when Wisdom is begotten in him, 
thinks of the things that are above, and touches the earth only so much as 
he needs must, such a man inhabits "the extreme parts of the earth under 
heavens," not plunging deep in earthly thought; with him Wisdom is 
present, as he prepares in himself heaven instead of earth: and when, by 
carrying out the precepts into act, he makes strong for himself the 
instruction of the clouds above, and, enclosing the great and widespread 
sea of wickedness, as it were with a beach, by his exact conversation, 
hinders the troubled water from proceeding forth from his mouth; and if 
by the grace of instruction he be made to dwell among the fountains, 
pouring forth the stream of his discourse with sure caution, that he may 
not give to any man for drink the turbid fluid of destruction in place of 
pure water, and if he be lifted up above all earthly paths and become aerial 
in his life, advancing towards that spiritual life which he speaks of as "the 
winds," so that he is set apart to be a throne of Him Who is seated in him 
(as was Paul separated for the Gospel to be a chosen vessel to bear the 
name of God, who, as it is elsewhere expressed, was made a throne, 
bearing Him that sat upon him) — when, I say, he is established in these 
and like ways, so that he who has already fully made up in himself the 
land inhabited by God, now rejoices in gladness that he is made the father, 
not of wild and senseless beasts, but of men (and these would be godlike 
thoughts, which are fashioned according to the Divine image, by faith in 
Him Who has been created and begotten, and set up in us; — and faith, 
according to the words of Paul, is conceived as the foundation whereby 



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wisdom is begotten in the faithful, and all the things that I have spoken of 
are wrought) — then, I say, the life of the man who has been thus 
established is truly blessed, for Wisdom is at all times in agreement with 
him, and rejoices with him who daily finds gladness in her alone. For the 
Lord rejoices in His saints, and there is joy in heaven over those who are 
being saved, and Christ, as the father, makes a feast for his rescued son. 
Though we have spoken hurriedly of these matters, let the careful man 
read the original text of the Holy Scripture, and fit its dark sayings to our 
reflections, testing whether it is not far better to consider that the meaning 
of these dark sayings has this reference, and not that which is attributed to 
it at first sight. For it is not possible that the theology of John should be 
esteemed true, which recites that all created things are the work of the 
Word, if in this passage He Who created Wisdom be believed to have made 
together with her all other things also. For in that case all things will not be 
by her, but she will herself be counted with the things that were made. 

And that this is the reference of the enigmatical sayings is clearly revealed 
by the passage that follows, which says, "Now therefore hearken unto me, 
my son: and blessed is he that keepeth my ways," meaning of course by 
"ways" the approaches to virtue, the beginning of which is the possession 
of Wisdom. Who, then, who looks to the divine Scripture, will not agree 
that the enemies of the truth are at once impious and slanderous? — 
impious, because, so far as in them lies, they degrade the unspeakable 
glory of the Only-begotten God, and unite it with the creation, striving to 
show that the Lord Whose power over all things is only-begotten, is one 
of the things that were made by Him: slanderous, because, though 
Scripture itself gives them no ground for such opinions, they arm 
themselves against piety as though they drew their evidence from that 
source. Now since they can by no means show any passage of the Holy 
Scriptures which leads us to look upon the pre-temporal glory of the 
Only -begotten God in conjunction with the subject creation, it is well, 
these points being proved, that the tokens of victory over falsehood 
should be adduced as testimony to the doctrine of godliness, and that 
sweeping aside these verbal systems of theirs by which they make the 
creature answer to the creator, and the thing made to the maker, we should 
confess, as the Gospel from heaven teaches us, the well-beloved Son — 
not a bastard, not a counterfeit; but that, accepting with the name of Son 



282 

all that naturally belongs to that name, we should say that He Who is of 
Very God is Very God, and that we should believe of Him all that we 
behold in the Father, because They are One, and in the one is conceived 
the other, not overpassing Him, not inferior to Him, not altered or subject 
to change in any Divine or excellent property. 

3. He then shows, from the instance of Adam and Abel, and other exam files, the 
absence of alienation of essence in the case of the "generate" and "ungenerate." 

Now seeing that Eunomius' conflict with himself has been made manifest, 
where he has been shown to contradict himself, at one time saying, "He 
ought to be called 'Son,' according to nature, because He is begotten," at 
another that, because He is created, He is no more called "Son," but a 
"product," I think it right that the careful and attentive reader, as it is not 
possible, when two statements are mutually at variance, that the truth 
should be found equally in both, should reject of the two that which is 
impious and blasphemous — that, I mean, with regard to the "creature" 
and the "product," and should assent to that only which is of orthodox 
tendency, which confesses that the appellation of "Son" naturally attaches 
to the Only-begotten God: so that the word of truth would seem to be 
recommended even by the voice of its enemies. 

I resume my discourse, however, taking up that point of his argument 
which we originally set aside. "We do not refuse," he says, "to call the 
Son. seeing He is generate, even by the name of 'product of generation, 
since the generated essence itself, and the appellation of 'Son,' make such 
a relation of words appropriate" Meanwhile let the reader who is critically 
following the argument remember this, that in speaking of the "generated 
essence" in the case of the Only-begotten, he by consequence allows us to 
speak of the "ungenerate essence" in the case of the Father, so that neither 
absence of generation, nor generation, can any longer be supposed to 
constitute the essence, but the essence must be taken separately, and its 
being, or not being begotten, must be conceived separately by means of the 
peculiar attributes contemplated in it. Let us, however, consider more 
carefully his argument on this point. He says that an essence has been 
begotten, and that the name of this generated essence is "Son." Well, at 
this point our argument will convict that of our opponents on two 
grounds, first, of an attempt at knavery, secondly, of slackness in their 



283 

attempt against ourselves. For he is playing the knave when he speaks of 
"generation of essence," in order to establish his opposition between the 
essences, when once they are divided in respect of a difference of nature 
between "generate" and "ungenerate": while the slackness of their attempt 
is shown by the very positions their knavery tries to establish. For he 
who says the essence is generate, clearly defines generation as being 
something else distinct from the essence, so that the significance of 
generation cannot be assigned to the word "essence." For he has not in this 
passage represented the matter as he often does, so as to say that 
generation is itself the essence, but acknowledges that the essence is 
generated, so that there is produced in his readers a distinct notion in the 
case of each word: for one conception arises in him who hears that it was 
generated, and another is called up by the name of "essence." Our 
argument may be made clearer by example. The Lord says in the Gospel 
that a woman, when her travail is drawing near, is in sorrow, but 
afterwards rejoices in gladness because a man is born into the world. As 
then in this passage we derive from the Gospel two distinct conceptions, 
— one the birth which we conceive to be by way of generation, the other 
that which results from the birth (for the birth is not the man, but the man 
is by the birth), — so here too, when Eunomius confesses that the essence 
was generated, we learn by the latter word that the essence comes from 
something, and by the Former we conceive that subject itself which has its 
real being from something. If then the signification of essence is one thing, 
and the word expressing generation suggests to us another conception, 
their clever contrivances are quite gone to ruin, like earthen vessels hurled 
one against the other, and mutually smashed to pieces. For it will no longer 
be possible for them, if they apply the opposition of "generate" and 
"ungenerate" to the essence of the Father and the Son, to apply at the 
same time to the things themselves the mutual conflict between these 
names. For as it is confessed by Eunomius that the essence is generate 
(seeing that the example from the Gospel explains the meaning of such a 
phrase, where, when we hear that a man is generated, we do not conceive 
the man to be the same thing as his generation, but receive a separate 
conception in each of the two words), heresy will surely no longer be 
permitted to express by such words her doctrine of the difference of the 
essences. In order, however, that our account of these matters may be 
cleared up as far as possible, let us once more discuss the point in the 



284 

following way. He Who framed the universe made the nature of man with 
all things in the beginning, and after Adam was made, He then appointed 
for men the law of generation one from another, saying, "Be fruitful and 
multiply." Now while Abel came into existence by way of generation, 
what reasonable man would deny that, in the actual sense of human 
generation, Adam existed ungenerately? Yet the first man had in himself 
the complete definition of man's essential nature, and he who was 
generated of him was enrolled under the same essential name. But if the 
essence that was generated was made anything other than that which was 
not generated, the same essential name would not apply to both: for of 
those things whose essence is different, the essential name also is not the 
same. Since, then, the essential nature of Adam and of Abel is marked by 
the same characteristics, we must certainly agree that one essence is in 
both, and that the one and the other are exhibited in the same nature. For 
Adam and Abel are both one so far as the definition of their nature is 
concerned, but are distinguished one from the other without confusion by 
the individual attributes observed in each of them. We cannot therefore 
properly say that Adam generated another essence besides himself, but 
rather that of himself he generated another self, with whom was produced 
the whole definition of the essence of him who generated him. What, then, 
we learn in the case of human nature by means of the inferential guidance 
afforded to us by the definition, this I think we ought to take for our 
guidance also to the pure apprehension of the Divine doctrines. For when 
we have shaken off from the Divine and exalted doctrines all carnal and 
material notions, we shall be most surely led by the remaining conception, 
when it is purged of such ideas, to the lofty and unapproachable heights. It 
is confessed even by our adversaries that God, Who is over all, both is and 
is called the Father of the Only-begotten, and they moreover give to the 
Only-begotten God, Who is of the Father, the name of "begotten," by 
reason of His being generated. Since then among men the word "father" has 
certain significances attaching to it, from which the pure nature is alien, it 
behooves a man to lay aside all material conceptions which enter in by 
association with the carnal significance of the word "father," and to form 
in the case of the God and Father a conception befitting the Divine nature, 
expressive only of the reality of the relationship. Since, therefore, in the 
notion of a human father there is included not only all that the flesh 
suggests to our thoughts, but a certain notion of interval is also 



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undoubtedly conceived with the idea of human fatherhood, it would be 
well, in the case of the Divine generation, to reject, together with bodily 
pollution, the notion of interval also, that so what properly belongs to 
matter may be completely purged away, and the transcendent generation 
may be clear, not only from the idea of passion, but from that of interval. 
Now he who says that God is a Father will unite with the thought that 
God is, the further thought that He is something: for that which has its 
being from some beginning, certainly also derives from something the 
beginning of its being, whatever it is: but He in Whose case being had no 
beginning, has not His beginning from anything, even although we 
contemplate in Him some other attribute than simple existence. Well, God 
is a Father. It follows that He is what He is from eternity: for He did not 
become, but is a Father: for in God that which was, both is and will be. On 
the other hand, if He once was not anything, then He neither is nor will be 
that thing: for He is not believed to be the Father of a Being such that it 
may be piously asserted that God once existed by Himself without that 
Being. For the Father is the Father of Life, and Truth, and Wisdom, and 
Light, and Sanctification, and Power, and all else of a like kind that the 
Only-begotten is or is called. Thus when the adversaries allege that the 
Light "once was not," I know not to which the greater injury is done, 
whether to the Light, in that the Light is not, or to Him that has the Light, 
in that He has not the Light. So also with Life and Truth and Power, and 
all the other characters in which the Only-begotten fills the Father' s 
bosom, being all things in His own fullness. For the absurdity will be equal 
either way, and the impiety against the Father will equal the blasphemy 
against the Son: for in saying that the Lord "once was not," you will not 
merely assert the non-existence of Power, but you will be saying that the 
Power of God, Who is the Father of the Power, "was not." Thus the 
assertion made by your doctrine that the Son "once was not," establishes 
nothing else than a destitution of all good in the case of the Father. See to 
what an end these wise men's acuteness leads, how by them the word of 
the Lord is made good, which says, "He that despiseth Me despiseth Him 
that sent Me:" for by the very arguments by which they despise the 
existence at any time of the Only-begotten, they also dishonor the Father, 
stripping off by their doctrine from the Father' s glory every good name 
and conception. 



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4. He thus shows the oneness of the Eternal Son with the Father the identity of 

essence and the community of nature (wherein is a natural inquiry into the 

production of wine), and that the terms "Son" and "product" in the naming of 
the Only-begotten include a like idea of relationship. 

What has been said, therefore, has clearly exposed the slackness which is 
to be found in the knavery of our author, who, while he goes about to 
establish the opposition of the essence of the Only -begotten to that of the 
Father, by the method of calling the one "ungenerate," and the other 
"generate," stands convicted of playing the fool with his inconsistent 
arguments. For it was shown from his own words, first, that the name of 
"essence" means one thing, and that of "generation" another; and next, that 
there did not come into existence, with the Son, any new and different 
essence besides the essence of the Father, but that what the Father is as 
regards the definition of His nature, that also He is Who is of the Father, 
as the nature does not change into diversity in the Person of the Son, 
according to the truth of the argument displayed by our consideration of 
Adam and Abel. For as, in that instance, he that was not generated after a 
like sort was yet, so far as concerns the definition of essence, the same 
with him that was generated, and Abel' s generation did not produce any 
change in the essence, so, in the case of these pure doctrines, the 
Only-begotten God did not, by His own generation, produce in Himself 
any change in the essence of Him Who is ungenerate (coming forth, as the 
Gospel says, from the Father, and being in the Father,) but is, according to 
the simple and homely language of the creed we profess, "Light of Light, 
very God of very God," the one being all that the other is, save being that 
other. With regard, however, to the aim for the sake of which he carries on 
this system-making, I think there is no need for me at present to express 
any opinion, whether it is audacious and dangerous, or a thing allowable 
and free from danger, to transform the phrases which are employed to 
signify the Divine nature from one to another, and to call Him Who is 
generated by the name of "product of generation." 

I let these matters pass, that my discourse may not busy itself too much 
in the strife against lesser points, and neglect the greater; but I say that we 
ought carefully to consider the question whether the natural relation does 
introduce the use of these terms: for this surely Eunomius asserts, that 
with the affinity of the appellations there is also asserted an essential 



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relationship. For he would not say, I presume, that the mere names 
themselves, apart from the sense of the things signified, have any mutual 
relation or affinity; but all discern the relationship or diversity of the 
appellations by the meanings which the words express. If, therefore, he 
confesses that "the Son" has a natural relation with "the Father," let us 
leave the appellations, and consider the force that is found in their 
significations, whether in their affinity we discern diversity of essence, or 
that which is kindred and characteristic. To say that we find diversity is 
downright madness. For how does something without kinship or 
community "preserve order," connected and conformable, in the names, 
where "the generated essence itself," as he says, "and the appellation of 
'Son,' make such a relation of words appropriate"? If, on the other hand, 
he should say that these appellations signify relationship, he will 
necessarily appear in the character of an advocate of the community of 
'essence, and as maintaining the fact that by affinity of names is signified 
also the connection of subjects: and this he often does in his composition 
without being aware of it. For, by the arguments wherewith he endeavors 
to destroy the truth, he is often himself unwittingly drawn into an 
advocacy of the very doctrines against which he is contending: Some such 
thing the history tells us concerning Saul, that once, when moved with 
wrath against the prophets, he was overcome by grace, and was found as 
one of the inspired, (the Spirit of prophecy willing, as I suppose, to 
instruct the apostate by means of himself,) whence the surprising nature 
of the event became a proverb in his after life, as the history records such 
an expression by way of wonder, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" 

At what point, then, does Eunomius assent to the truth? When he says 
that the Lord Himself, "being the Son of the living God, not being ashamed 
of His birth from the Virgin, often named Himself, in His own sayings, 
'the Son of Man'"? For this phrase we also allege for proof of the 
community of essence, because the name of "Son" shows the community 
of nature to be equal in both cases. For as He is called the Son of Man by 
reason of the kindred of His flesh to her of whom He was born, so also He 
is conceived, surely, as the Son of God, by reason of the connection of His 
essence with that from which He has His existence, and this argument is 
the greatest weapon of the truth. For nothing so clearly points to Him 
Who is the "mediator between God and man" (as the great Apostle called 



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Him), as the name of "Son," equally applicable to either nature, Divine or 
Human. For the same Person is Son of God, and was made, in the 
Incarnation, Son of Man, that, by His communion with each, He might 
link together by Himself what were divided by nature. Now if, in 
becoming Son of Man, he were without participation in human nature, it 
would be logical to say that neither, does He share in the Divine essence, 
though He is Son of God. But if the whole compound nature of man was 
in Him (for He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin), 
it is surely necessary to believe that every property of the transcendent 
essence is also in Him, as the Word "Son" claims for Him both alike — the 
Human in the man, but in the God the Divine. 

If then the appellations, as Eunomius says, indicate relationship, and the 
existence of relationship is observed in the things, not in the mere sound of 
the words (and by things I mean the things conceived in themselves, if it 
be not over-bold thus to speak of the Son and the Father), who would 
deny that the very champion of blasphemy has by his own action been 
dragged into the advocacy of orthodoxy, overthrowing by his own means 
his own arguments, and proclaiming community of essence in the case of 
the Divine doctrines? For the argument that he unwillingly casts into the 
scale on the side of truth does not speak falsely as regards this point, — 
that He would not have been called Son if the natural conception of the 
names did not verify this calling. For as a bench is not called the son of the 
workman, and no sane man would say that the builder engendered the 
house, and we do not say that the vineyard is the "product" of the 
vine-dresser, but call what a man makes his work, and him who is begotten 
of him the son of a man, (in order, I suppose, that the proper meaning 
might be attached by means of the names to the respective subjects,) so 
too, when we are taught that the Only-begotten is Son of God, we do not 
by this appellation understand a creature of God, but what the word 
"Son" in its signification really displays. And even though wine be named 
by Scripture the "product" of the vine, not even so will our argument with 
regard to the orthodox doctrine suffer by this identity of name. For we do 
not call wine the "product" of the oak, nor the acorn the "product" of the 
vine, but we use the word only if there is some natural community 
between the "product" and that from which it comes. For the moisture in 
the vine, which is drawn out from the root through the stem by the pith, 



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is, in its natural power, water: but, as it passes in orderly sequence along 
the ways of nature, and flows from the lowest to the highest, it changes to 
the quality of wine, a change to which the rays of the sun contribute in 
some degree, which by their warmth draw out the moisture from the depth 
to the shoots, and by a proper and suitable process of ripening make the 
moisture wine: so that, so far as their nature is concerned, there is no 
difference between the moisture that exists in the vine and the wine that is 
produced from it. For the one form of moisture comes from the other, and 
one could not say that the cause of wine is anything else than the moisture 
which naturally exists in the shoots. But, so far as moisture is concerned, 
the differences of quality produce no alteration, but are found when some 
peculiarity discerns the moisture which is in the form of wine from that 
which is in the shoots, one of the two forms being accompanied by 
astringency, or sweetness, or sourness, so that in substance the two are 
the same, but are distinguished by qualitative differences. As, therefore, 
when we hear from Scripture that the Only -begotten God is Son of man, 
we learn by the kindred expressed in the name His kinship with true man, 
so even, if the Son be called, in the adversaries' phrase, a "product," we 
none the less learn, even by this name, His kinship in essence with Him 
that has "produced" Him, by the fact that wine, which is called the 
"product" of the vine has been found not to be alien, as concerns the idea 
of moisture, from the natural power that resides in the vine. Indeed, if one 
were judiciously to examine the things that are said by our adversaries, 
they tend to our doctrine, and their sense cries out against their own 
fabrications, as they strive at all points to establish their "difference in 
essence." Yet it is by no means an easy matter to conjecture whence they 
were led to such conceptions. For if the appellation of "Son" does not 
merely signify "being from something," but by its signification presents to 
us specially, as Eunomius himself says, relationship in point of nature, 
and wine is not called the "product" of an oak, and those "products" or 
"generation of vipers," of which the Gospel somewhere speaks, are makes 
and not sheep, it is clear, that in the case of the Only-begotten also, the 
appellation of "Son" or of "product" would not convey the meaning of 
relationship to something of another kind: but even if, according to our 
adversaries' phrase, He is called a "product of generation," and the name 
of "Son," as they confess, has reference to nature, the Son is surely of the 
essence of Him Who has generated or "produced" Him, not of that of 



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some other among the things which we contemplate as external to that 
nature. And if He is truly from Him, He is not alien from all that belongs 
to Him from Whom He is, as in the other cases too it was shown that all 
that has its existence from anything by way of generation is clearly of the 
same kind as that from whence it came. 

5. He discusses the incomprehensibility of the Divine essence, and the saying to the 
woman of Samaria, "Ye worship ye know not what." 

Now if any one should ask for some interpretation, and description, and 
explanation of the Divine essence, we are not going to deny that this kind 
of wisdom we are unlearned, acknowledging only so much as this, that it is 
not possible that which is by nature infinite should be comprehended in 
any conception expressed by words. The fact that the Divine greatness 
has no limit is proclaimed by prophecy, which declares expressly that of 
His splendor, His glory, His holiness, "there is no end:" and if His 
surroundings have no limit, much more is He Himself in His essence, 
whatever it may be, comprehended by no limitation in any way. If then 
interpretation by way of words and names implies by its meaning some 
sort of comprehension of the subject, and if, on the other hand, that which 
is unlimited cannot be comprehended, no one could reasonably blame us 
for ignorance, if we are not bold in respect of what none should venture 
upon. For by what name can I describe the incomprehensible? by what 
speech can I declare the unspeakable? Accordingly, since the Deity is too 
excellent and lofty to be expressed in words, we have learnt to honor in 
silence what transcends speech and thought: and if he who "thinketh more 
highly than he ought to think," tramples upon this cautious speech of ours 
making a jest of our ignorance of things incomprehensible, and recognizes a 
difference of unlikeness in that which is without figure, or limit, or size, or 
quantity (I mean in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and brings 
forward to reproach our ignorance that phrase which is continually alleged 
by the disciples of deceit, '"Ye worship ye know not what,' if ye know 
not the essence of that which ye worship," we shall follow the advice of 
the prophet, and not fear the reproach of fools, nor be led by their reviling 
to talk boldly of things unspeakable, making that unpracticed speaker Paul 
our teacher in the mysteries that transcend knowledge, who is so far from 
thinking that the Divine nature is within the reach of human perception, 
that he calls even the judgments of God "unsearchable," and His ways 



291 

"past finding out," and affirms that the things promised to them that love 
Him, for their good deeds done in this life, are above comprehension so 
that it is not possible to behold them with the eye, nor to receive them by 
hearing, nor to contain them in the heart. Learning this, therefore, from 
Paul, we boldly declare that, not only are the judgments of God too high 
for those who try to search them out, but that the ways also that lead to 
the knowledge of Him are even until now untrodden and impassable. For 
this is what we understand that the Apostle wishes to signify, when he 
calls the ways that lead to the incomprehensible "past finding out," 
showing by the phrase that that knowledge is unattainable by human 
calculations, and that no one ever yet set his understanding on such a path 
of reasoning, or showed any trace or sign of an approach, by way of 
perception, to the things incomprehensible. 

Learning these things, then, from the lofty words of the Apostle, we argue, 
by the passage quoted, in this way: — If His judgments cannot be 
searched out, and His ways are not traced, and the promise of His good 
things transcends every representation that our conjectures can frame, by 
how much more is His actual Godhead higher and loftier, in respect of 
being unspeakable and unapproachable, than those attributes which are 
conceived as accompanying it, whereof the divinely instructed Paul 
declares that there is no knowledge: — and by this means we confirm in 
ourselves the doctrine they'd ride, confessing ourselves inferior to them in 
the knowledge of those things which are beyond the range of knowledge, 
and declare that we really worship what we know. Now we know the 
loftiness of the glory of Him Whom we worship, by the very fact that we 
are not able by reasoning to comprehend in our thoughts the incomparable 
character of His greatness; and that saying of our Lord to the Samaritan 
woman, which is brought forward against us by our enemies, might more 
properly be addressed to them. For the words, "Ye worship ye know not 
what," the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman, prejudiced as she was by 
corporeal ideas in her opinions concerning God: and to her the phrase 
"Well applies, because the Samaritans, thinking that they worship God, 
and at the same time supposing the Deity to be corporeally settled in 
place, adore Him in name only, worshipping something else, and not God. 
For nothing is Divine that is conceived as being circumscribed, but it 
belongs to the Godhead to be in all places, and to pervade all things, and 



292 

not to be limited by anything: so that those who fight against Christ find 
the phrase they adduce against us turned into an accusation of themselves. 
For, as the Samaritans, supposing the Deity to be compassed round by 
some circumscription of place, were rebuked by the words they heard, 
'"Ye worship ye know not what,' and your service is profitless to you, 
for a God that is deemed to be settled in any place is no God," — so one 
might well say to the new Samaritans, "In supposing the Deity to be 
limited by the absence of generation, as it were by some local limit, 'ye 
worship ye know not what,' doing service to Him indeed as God, but not 
knowing that the infinity of God exceeds all the significance and 
comprehension that names can furnish." 

6. Thereafter he expounds the appellation of "Son," and of "product of 

generation," and very many varieties of sons," of God, of men, of rams, of 

perdition, of light, and of day. 

But our discourse has diverged too far from the subject before us, in 
following one the questions which arise from time to time by way of 
inference. Let us therefore once more resume its sequence, as I imagine that 
the phrase trader examination has been sufficiently shown, by what we 
have said, to be contradictory not only to the truth, but also to itself. For 
if, according to their view, the natural relation to the Father is established 
by the appellation of "the Son," and so with that of the "product of 
generation" to Him Who has begotten Him (as these men's wisdom falsely 
models the terms significant of the Divine nature into a verbal arrangement, 
according to some grammatical frivolity), no one could longer doubt that 
the mutual relation of the names which is established by nature is a proof 
of their kindred, or rather of their identity of essence. But let not our 
discourse merely turn about our adversaries' words, that the orthodox 
doctrine may not seem to gain the victory only by the weakness of those 
who fight against it, but appear to have an abundant supply of strength in 
itself. Let the adverse argument, therefore, be strengthened as much as may 
be by us ourselves with more energetic advocacy, that the superiority of 
our force may be recognized with full confidence, as we bring to the 
unerring test of truth those arguments also which our adversaries have 
omitted. He who contends on behalf of our adversaries will perhaps say 
that the name of "Son," or "product of generation," does not by any 
means establish the fact of kindred in nature. For in Scripture the term 



293 

"child of wrath" is used, and "son of perdition," and "product of a viper;" 
and in such names Surely no community of nature is apparent. For Judas, 
who is called "the son of perdition," is not in his substance the same with 
perdition, according to what we understand by the word. For the 
signification of the "man" in Judas is one thing, and that of "perdition" is 
another. And the argument may be established equally from an opposite 
instance. For those who are called in a certain sense "children of light," and 
"children of the day," are not the same with light and day in respect of the 
definition of their nature, and the stones are made Abraham's children s 
when they claim their kindred with him by faith and works; and those who 
are "led by the Spirit of God," as the Apostle says, are called "Sons of 
God," without being the same with God in respect of nature; and one may 
collect many such instances from the inspired Scripture, by means of 
which deceit, like some image decked with the testimonies of Scripture, 
masquerades in the likeness of truth. 

Well, what do we say to this? The divine Scripture knows how to use the 
word "Son" in both senses, so that in some cases such an appellation is 
derived from nature, in others it is adventitious and artificial. For when it 
speaks of "sons of men," or "sons of rams," it marks the essential relation 
of that which is begotten to that from which it has its being: but when it 
speaks of "sons of power," or "children of God," it presents to us that 
kinship which is the result of choice. And, moreover, in the opposite 
sense, too, the same persons are called "sons of Eli," and "sons of Belial," 
the appellation of "sons" being easily adapted to either idea. For when 
they are called "sons of Eli," they are declared to have natural relationship 
to him, but in being called "sons of Belial," they are reproved for the 
wickedness of their choice, as no longer emulating their father in their life, 
but addicting their own purpose to sin. In the case, then, of this lower 
nature of ours, and of the things with which we are concerned, by reason 
of human nature being equally inclined to either side (I mean, to vice and to 
virtue), it is in our power to become sons either of night or of day, while 
our nature yet remains, so far as the chief part of it is concerned, within its 
proper limits. For neither is he 'who by sin becomes a child of wrath 
alienated from his human generation, nor does he who by choice addicts 
himself to good reject his human origin by the refinement of his habits, 
but, while their nature in each case remains the same, the differences of 



294 

their purpose assume the names of their relationship, according as they 
become either children of God by virtue, or of the opposite by vice. 

But how does Eunomius, in the case of the divine doctrines at least — he 
who" preserves the natural order" (for I will use our author's very words), 
"and abides by those things which are known to us from the beginning, 
and does not refuse to call Him that is begotten by the name of 'product of 
generation,' since the generated essence itself (as he says) "and the 
appellation of 'Son' makes such a relation of words appropriate", — how 
does he alienate the Begotten from essential kindred with Him that begat 
Him? For in the case of those who are called "sons" or "products" by way 
of reproach, or again where some praise accompanies such names, we 
cannot say that any one is called "a child of wrath," being at the same time 
actually begotten by wrath; nor again had any one the day for his mother, 
in a corporeal sense, that he should be called its son; but it is the difference 
of their will which gives occasion for names of such relationship. Here, 
however, Eunomius says, "we do not refuse to call the Son, seeing He is 
begotten, by the name of 'product of generation,' since the generated 
essence," he tells us, "and the appellation of 'Son,' makes such a relation 
of words appropriate." If, then, he confesses that such a relation of words 
is made appropriate by the fact that the Son is really a "product of 
generation," how is it opportune to assign such a rationale of names, alike 
to those which are used inexactly by way of metaphor, and to those where 
the natural relation, as Eunomius tells us, makes such a use of names 
appropriate? Surely such an account is true only in the case of those 
whose nature is a border-land between virtue and vice, where one often 
shares in turn opposite classes of names, becoming a child, now of light, 
then again of darkness, by reason of affinity to the good or to its opposite. 
But where contraries have no place, one could no longer say that the word 
"Son" is applied metaphorically, in like manner as in the case of those who 
by choice appropriate the title to themselves. For one could not arrive at 
this view, that, as a man casting off the works of darkness becomes, by his 
decent life, a child of light, so too the Only -begotten God received the 
more honorable name as the result of a change from the inferior state. For 
one who is a man becomes a son of God by being joined to Christ by 
spiritual generation: but He Who by Himself makes the man to be a son of 
God does not need another Son to bestow on Him the adoption of a son, 



295 

but has the name also of that which He is by nature. A man himself 
changes himself, exchanging the old man for the new; but to what shall 
God be changed, so that He may receive what He has not? A man puts off 
himself, and puts on the Divine nature; but what does He put off, or in 
what does He array Himself, Who is always the same? A man becomes a 
son of God, receiving what he has not, and laying aside what he has; but 
He Who has never been in the state of vice has neither anything to receive 
nor anything to relinquish. Again, the man may be on the one hand truly 
called some one's son, when one speaks with reference to his nature; and, 
on the other hand, he may be so called inexactly, when the choice of his 
life imposes the name. But God, being One Good, in a single and 
uncompounded nature, looks ever the same way, and is never changed by 
the impulse of choice, but always wishes what He is, and is, assuredly, 
what He wishes: so that He is in both respects properly and truly called 
Son of God, since His nature contains the good, and His choice also is 
never severed from that which is more excellent, so that this word is 
employed, without inexactness, as His name. Thus there is no room for 
these arguments (which, in the person of our adversaries, we have been 
opposing to ourselves), to be brought forward by our adversaries as a 
demurrer to the affinity in respect of nature. 

7. Then he ends the book with an exposition of the Divine and Human names of 
the Only-begotten, and a discussion of the terms "generate" and "ungenerate." 

But as, I know not how or why, they hate and abhor the truth, they give 
Him indeed the name of "Son," but in order to avoid the testimony which 
this word would give to the community of essence, they separate the word 
from the sense included in the name, and concede to the Only-begotten the 
name of "Son" as an empty thing, vouchsafing to Him only the mere 
sound of the word. That what I say is true, and that I am not taking a false 
aim at the adversaries' mark, may be clearly learnt from the actual attacks 
they make upon the truth. Such are those arguments which are brought 
forward by them to establish their blasphemy, that we are taught by the 
divine Scriptures many names of the Only-begotten — a stone, an axe, a 
rock, a foundation, bread, a vine, a door, a way, a shepherd, a fountain, a 
tree, resurrection, a teacher, light, and many such names. But we may not 
piously use any of these names of the Lord, understanding it according to 
its immediate sense. For surely it would be a most absurd thing to think 



296 

that what is incorporeal and immaterial, simple, and without figure, should 
be fashioned according to the apparent senses of these names, whatever 
they may be, so that when we hear of an axe we should think of a 
particular figure of iron, or when we hear of light, of the light in the sky, or 
of a vine, of that which grows by the planting of shoots, or of any one of 
the other names, as its ordinary use suggests to us to think; but we 
transfer the sense of these names to what better becomes the Divine 
nature, and form some other conception, and if we do designate Him thus, 
it is not as being any of these things, according to the definition of His 
nature, but as being called these things while He is conceived by means of 
the names employed as something else than the things themselves. But if 
such names are indeed truly predicated of the Only-begotten God, without 
including the declaration of His nature, they say that, as a consequence, 
neither should we admit the signification of "Son," as it is understood 
according to the prevailing use, as expressive of nature, but should find 
some sense of this word also, different from that which is ordinary and 
obvious. These, and others like these, are their philosophical arguments to 
establish that the Son is not what He is and is called. Our argument was 
hastening to a different goal, namely to show that Eunomius' new 
discourse is false and inconsistent, and argues neither with the truth nor 
with itself. Since, however, the arguments which we employ to attack their 
doctrine are brought into the discussion as a sort of support for their 
blasphemy, it may be well first briefly to discuss his point, and then to 
proceed to the orderly examination of his writings. 

What can we say, then, to such things without relevance? That while, as 
they say, the names which Scripture applies to the Only-begotten are 
many, we assert that none of the other names is closely connected with 
the reference to Him that begat Him. For we do not employ the name 
"Stone," or "Resurrection," or "Shepherd," or "Light," or any of the rest, 
as we do the name "Son of the Father," with a reference to the God of all. 
It is possible to make a twofold division of the signification of the Divine 
names, as it were by a scientific rule: for to one class belongs the indication 
of His lofty and unspeakable glory; the other class indicates the variety of 
the providential dispensation: so that, as we suppose, if that which 
received His benefits did not exist, neither would those words be applied 
with respect to them which indicate His bounty. All those on the other 



297 

hand, that express the attributes of God, are applied suitably and properly 
to the Only-begotten God, apart from the objects of the dispensation. But 
that we may set forth this doctrine clearly, we wilt examine the names 
themselves. The Lord would not have been called a vine, save for the 
planting of those who are rooted in Him, nor a shepherd, had not the 
sheep of the house of Israel been lost, nor a physician, save for the sake of 
them that were sick, nor would He have received for Himself the rest of 
these names, had He not made the titles appropriate, in a manner 
advantageous with regard to those who were benefited by Him, by some 
action of His providence. What need is there to mention individual 
instances, and to lengthen our argument upon points that are 
acknowledged? On the other hand, He is certainly called "Son," and "Right 
Hand," and "Only-begotten," and "Word," and "Wisdom," and "Power," 
and all other such relative names, as being named together with the Father 
in a certain relative conjunction. For He is called the "Power of God," and 
the "Right Hand of God," and the "Wisdom of God," and the "Son and 
Only-begotten of the Father," and the "Word with God," and so of the 
rest. Thus, it follows from what we have stated, that in each of the names 
we are to contemplate some suitable sense appropriate to the subject, so 
that we may not miss the right understanding of them, and go astray from 
the doctrine of godliness. As, then, we transfer each of the other terms to 
that sense in which they may be applied to God, and reject in their case 
the immediate sense, so as not to understand material light, or a trodden 
way, or the bread which is produced by husbandry, or the word that is 
expressed by speech, but, instead of these, all those thoughts which 
present to us the magnitude of the power of the Word of God, — so, if 
one were to reject the ordinary and natural sense of the word "Son," by 
which we learn that He is of the same essence as Him that begat Him, he 
will of course transfer the name to some more divine interpretation. For 
since the change to the more glorious meaning which has been made in each 
of the other terms has adapted them to set forth the Divine power, it 
surely follows that the significance of this name also should be transferred 
to what is loftier. But what more Divine sense could we find in the 
appellation of "Son," if we were to reject, according to Our adversaries' 
view, the natural relation to Him that begat Him? I presume no one is so 
daring in impiety as to think that, in speech concerning the Divine nature, 
what is humble and mean is more appropriate than what is lofty and great. 



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If they can discover, therefore, any sense of more exalted character than 
this, so that to be of the nature of the Father seems a thing unworthy to 
conceive of the Only-begotten, let them tell us whether they know, in their 
secret wisdom, anything more exalted than the nature of the Father, that, 
in raising the Only-begotten God to this level, they should lift Him also 
above His relation to the Father. But if the majesty of the Divine nature 
transcends all height, and excels every power that calls forth our wonder, 
what idea remains that can carry the meaning of the name "Son" to 
something greater still? Since it is acknowledged, therefore, that every 
significant phrase employed of the Only -begotten, even if the name be 
derived from the ordinary use of our lower life, is properly applied to Him 
with a difference of sense in the direction of greater majesty, and if it is 
shown that we can find no more noble conception of the title "Son" than 
that which presents to us the reality of His relationship to Him that begat 
Him, I think that we need spend no more time on this topic, as our 
argument has sufficiently shown that it is not proper to interpret the title 
of "Son" in like manner with the other names. 

But we must bring back our enquiry once more to the book. It does not 
become the same persons "not to refuse" (for I will use their own words) 
"to call Him that is generated a ' product of generation,' since both the 
generated essence itself and the appellation of Son make such a relation of 
words appropriate," and again to change the names which naturally belong 
to Him into metaphorical interpretations: so that one of two things has 
befallen them, — either their first attack has failed, and it is in vain that 
they fly to "natural order" to establish the necessity of calling Him that is 
generated a "product of generation"; or, if this argument holds good, they 
will find their second argument brought to nought by what they have 
already established. For the person who is called a "product of generation" 
because He is generated, cannot, for the very same reason, be possibly 
called a "product of making," or a "product of creation." For the sense of 
the several terms differs very widely, and one who uses his phrases 
advisedly ought to employ words with due regard to the subject, that we 
may not, by improperly interchanging the sense of our phrases, fall into 
any confusion of ideas. Hence we call that which is wrought out by a craft 
the work of the craftsman, and call him who is begotten by a man that 
man's son; and no sane person would call the work a son, or the son a 



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work; for that is the language of one who confuses and obscures the true 
sense by an erroneous use of names. It follows that we must truly affirm 
of the Only-begotten one of these two things, — if He is a Son, that He is 
not to be called a "product of creation," and if He is created, that He is 
alien from the appellation of "Son," just as heaven and sea and earth, and 
all individual things, being things created, do not assume the name of 
"Son." But since Eunomius bears witness that the Only-begotten God is 
begotten (and the evidence of enemies is of additional value for establishing 
the truth), he surely testifies also, by saying that He is begotten, to the 
fact that He is not created. Enough, however, on these points: for though 
many arguments crowd upon us, we will be content, lest their number lead 
to disproportion, with those we have already adduced on the subject 
before us. 



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BOOK IV 



I. The fourth book discusses the account of the nature of the "product of 

generation," and of the passionless generation of the Only-begotten, and the text, 

"In the beginning was the Word," and the birth of the Virgin. 

It is, perhaps, time to examine in our discourse that account of the nature 
of the "product of generation" which is the subject of his ridiculous 
philosophizing. He says, then (I will repeat word for word his beautifully 
composed argument against the truth): — "Who is so indifferent and 
inattentive to the nature of things as not to know, that of all bodies which 
are on earth, in their generating and being generated, in their activity and 
passivity, those which generate are found on examination to communicate 
their own essence, and those which are generated naturally receive the 
same, inasmuch as the material cause and the supply which flows in from 
without are common to both; and the things begotten are generated by 
passion, and those which beget, naturally have an action which is not pure, 
by reason of their nature being linked with passions of all kinds?" See in 
what fitting style he discusses in his speculation the pro-temporal 
generation of the Word of God that was in the beginning! he who closely 
examines the nature of things, bodies on the earth, and material causes, and 
passion of things generating and generated, and all the rest of it, — at 
which any man of understanding would blush, even were it said of 
ourselves, if it were our nature, subject as it is to passion, which is thus 
exposed to scorn by his words. Yet such is our author's brilliant enquiry 
into nature with regard to the Only-begotten God. Let us lay aside 
complaints, however, (for what will sighing do to help us to overthrow the 
malice of our enemy?) and make generally known, as best we may, the 
sense of what we have quoted — concerning what sort of "product" the 
speculation was proposed, — that which exists according to the flesh, or 
that which is to be contemplated in the Only-begotten God. 

As the speculation is two-fold, concerning that life which is Divine, 
simple, and immaterial, and concerning that existence which is material and 
subject to passion, and as the word "generation" is used of both, we must 



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needs make our distinction sharp and clear, lest the ambiguity of the term 
"generation" should in any way pervert the truth. Since, then, the entrance 
into being through the flesh is material, and is promoted by passion, while 
that which is bodiless, impalpable, without form, and free from any 
material commixture, is alien from every condition that admits of passion, 
it is proper to consider about what sort of generation we are enquiring — 
that which is pure and Divine, or that which is subject to passion and 
pollution. Now, no one, I suppose, would deny that with regard to the 
Only-begotten God, it is pre-temporal existence that is proposed for the 
consideration s of Eunomius' discourse. Why, then, does he linger over 
this account of corporeal nature, defiling our nature by the loathsome 
presentment of his argument, and setting forth openly the passions that 
gather round human generation, while he deserts the subject, set before 
him? for it was not about this animal generation, that is accomplished by 
means of the flesh, that we had any need to learn. Who is so foolish, when 
he looks on himself, and considers human nature in himself, as to seek 
another interpreter of his own nature, and to need to be told all the 
unavoidable passions which are included in the thought of bodily 
generation — that he who begets is affected in one way, that which is 
begotten in another — so that the man should learn from this instruction 
that he himself begets by means of passion, and that passion was the 
beginning of his own generation? For it is all the same whether these things 
are passed over or spoken, and whether one publishes these secrets at 
length, or keeps hidden in silence things that should be left unsaid, we are 
not ignorant of the fact that our nature progresses by way of passion. But 
what we are seeking is that a clear account should be given of the exalted 
and unspeakable existence of the Only-begotten, whereby He is believed 
to be of the Father. 

Now, while this is the enquiry set before him, our new theologian enriches 
his discourse with "flowing," and "passion," and "material cause," and 
some "action" which "is not pure" from pollution, and all other phrases of 
this kind. I know not under what influence it is that he who says, in the 
superiority of his wisdom, that nothing incomprehensible is left beyond 
his own knowledge, and promises to explain the unspeakable generation of 
the Son, leaves the question before him, and plunges like an eel into the 
slimy mud of his arguments, after the fashion of that Nicodemus who 



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came by night, who, when our Lord was teaching him of the birth from 
above, rushed in thought to the hollow of the womb, and raised a doubt 
how one could enter a second time into the womb, with the words, "How 
can these things be?" thinking that he would prove the spiritual birth 
impossible, by the fact that an old man could not again be born within his 
mother's bowels. But the Lord corrects his erroneous idea, saying that the 
properties of the flesh and the spirit are distinct. Let Eunomius also, if he 
will, correct himself by the like reflection. For he who ponders on the 
truth ought, I imagine, to contemplate his subject according to its own 
properties, not to slander the immaterial by a charge against things 
material. For if a man, or a bull, or any other of those things which are 
generated by the flesh, is not free from passion in generating or being 
generated, what has this to do with that Nature which is without passion 
and without corruption? The fact that we are mortal is no objection to the 
immortality of the Only-begotten, nor does men's propensity to vice 
render doubtful the immutability that is found in the Divine Nature, nor is 
any other of our proper attributes transferred to God; but the peculiar 
nature of the human and the Divine life is separated, and without common 
ground, and their distinguishing properties stand entirely apart, so that 
those of the latter are not apprehended in the former, nor, conversely, 
those of the former in the latter. 

How comes it, therefore, that Eunomius, when the Divine generation is the 
subject for discourse, leaves his subject, and discusses at length the things 
of earth, when on this matter we have no dispute with him? Surely our 
craftsman's aim is clear, — that by the slanderous insinuation of passion 
he may raise an objection to the generation of the Lord. And here I pass by 
the blasphemous nature of his view, and admire the man for his acuteness, 
— how mindful he is of his own zealous endeavor, who, having by his 
previous statements established the theory that the Son must be, and must 
be called, a "product of generation," now contends for the view that we 
ought not to entertain regarding Him the conception Of generation. For, if 
all generation, as this author imagines, has linked with it the condition of 
passion, we are hereby absolutely compelled to admit that what is foreign 
to passion is alien also from generation: for if these things, passion and 
generation, are considered as conjoined, He that has no share in the one 
would not have any participation in the other. How then does he call Him 



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a "product" by reason of His generation, of Whom he tries to show by the 
arguments he now uses, that He was not generated? and for what cause 
does he fight against our master, who counsels us in matters of Divine 
doctrine not to presume in name-making, but to confess that He is 
generated without transforming this conception into the formula of a name, 
so as to call Him Who is generated "a product of generation," as this term 
is properly applied in Scripture to things inanimate, or to those which are 
mentioned "as a figure of wickedness"? When we speak of the propriety 
of avoiding the use of the term "product," he prepares for action that 
invincible rhetoric of his, and takes also to support him his frigid 
grammatical phraseology, and by his skillful misuse of names, or 
equivocation, or whatever one may properly call his processes — by these 
means, I say, he brings his syllogisms to their conclusion, "not refusing to 
call Him Who is begotten by the name of 'product of generation.'" Then, 
as soon as we admit the term, and proceed to examine the conception 
involved in the name, on the theory that thereby is vindicated the 
community of essence, he again retracts his own words, and contends for 
the view that the "product of generation" is not generated, raising an 
objection by his foul account of bodily generation, against the pure and 
Divine and passionless generation of the Son, on the ground that it is not 
possible that the two things, the true relationship to the Father, and 
exemption of His nature from passion, should be found to coincide in God, 
but that, if there were no passion, there would be no generation, and that, 
if one should acknowledge the true relationship, he would thereby, in 
admitting generation, certainly admit passion also. 

Not thus speaks the sublime John, not thus that voice of thunder which 
proclaims the mystery of the Theology, who both names Him Son of God 
and purges his proclamation from every idea of passion. For behold how 
in the very beginning of his Gospel he prepares our ears, how great 
forethought is shown by the teacher that none of his hearers should fall 
into low ideas on the subject, slipping by ignorance into any incongruous 
conceptions. For in order to lead the untrained hearing as far away as 
possible from passion, he does not speak in his opening words of "Son," 
or" Father," or "generation," that no one should either, on hearing first of 
all of a "Father," be hurried on to the obvious signification of the word, or, 
on learning the proclamation of a "Son," should understand that name in 



304 

the ordinary sense, or stumble, as at a "stone of stumbling," at the word 
"generation"; but instead of "the Father," he speaks of "the Beginning": 
instead of "was begotten," he says "was": and instead of "the Son," he 
says "the Word": and declares "In the Beginning was the Word." What 
passion, pray, is to be found in these words, "beginning," and "was," and 
"Word"? Is "the beginning" passion? does "was" imply passion? does 
"the Word" exist by means of passion? Or are we to say, that as passion 
is not to be found in the terms used, so neither is affinity expressed by the 
proclamation? Yet how could the Word's community of essence, and real 
relationship, and coeternity with the Beginning, be more strongly shown 
by other words than by these? For he does not say, "Of the Beginning 
was begotten the Word," that he may not separate the Word from the 
Beginning by any conception of extension in time, but he proclaims 
together with the Beginning Him also Who was in the Beginning, making 
the word "was" common to the Beginning and to the Word, that the Word 
may not linger after the Beginning, but may, by entering in together with 
the faith as to the Beginning, by its proclamation forestall our hearing, 
before this admits the Beginning itself in isolation. Then he declares, "And 
the Word was with God." Once more the Evangelist fears for our untrained 
state, once more he dreads our childish and untaught condition: he does not 
yet entrust to our ears the appellation of "Father," lest any of the more 
carnally minded, learning of "the Father," may be led by his understanding 
to imagine also by consequence a mother. Neither does he yet name in his 
proclamation the Son; for he still suspects our customary tendency to the 
lower nature, and fears lest any, hearing of the Son, should humanize the 
Godhead by an idea of passion. For this reason, resuming his 
proclamation, he again calls him "the Word," making this the account of 
His nature to thee in thine unbelief. For as thy word proceeds from thy 
mind, without requiring the intervention of passion, so here also, in hearing 
of the Word, thou shalt conceive that which is from something, and shalt 
not conceive passion. Hence, once more resuming his proclamation, he 
says, "And the Word was with God." O, how does he make the Word 
commensurate with God! rather, how does he extend the infinite in 
comparison with the infinite! "The Word was with God" — the whole 
being of the Word, assuredly, with the whole being of God. Therefore, as 
great as God is, so great, clearly, is the Word also that is with Him; so that 
if God is limited, then will the Word also, surely, be subject to limitation. 



305 

But if the infinity of God exceeds limit, neither is the Word that is 
contemplated with Him comprehended by limits and measures. For no one 
would deny that the Word is contemplated together with the entire 
Godhead of the Father, so that he should make one part of the Godhead 
appear to be in the Word, and another destitute of the Word. Once more 
the spiritual voice of John speaks, once more the Evangelist in his 
proclamation takes tender care for the hearing of those who are in 
childhood: not yet have we so much grown by the hearing of his first 
words as to hear of "the Son," and yet remain firm without being moved 
from our footing by the influence of the wonted sense. Therefore our 
herald, crying once more aloud, still proclaims in his third utterance "the 
Word," and not "the Son," saying, "And the Word was God." First he 
declared wherein He was, then with whom He was, and now he says what 
He is, completing, by his third repetition, the object of his proclamation. 
For he says, "It is no Word of those that are readily understood, that I 
declare to you, but God under the designation of the Word." For this 
Word, that was in the Beginning, and was with God, was not anything else 
besides God, but was also Himself God. And forthwith the herald, 
reaching the full height of his lofty speech, declares that this God Whom 
his proclamation sets forth is He by Whom all things were made, and is 
life, and the light of men, and the true light that shineth in darkness, yet is 
not obscured by the darkness, sojourning with His own, yet not received 
by His own: and being made flesh, and tabernacling, by means of the flesh, 
in man's nature. And when he has first gone through this number and 
variety of statements, he then names the Father and the Only-begotten, 
when there can be no danger that what has been purified by so many 
precautions should be allowed, in consequence of the sense of the word 
"Father," to Sink down to any meaning tainted with pollution, for, "we 
beheld His glory," he says, "the glory as of the Only-begotten of the 
Father." 

Repeat, then, Eunomius, repeat this clever objection of yours to the 
Evangelist: "How dost thou give the name of 'Father' in thy discourse, 
how that of Only-begotten, seeing that all bodily generation is operated by 
passion?" Surely truth answers you on his behalf, that the mystery of 
theology is one thing, and the physiology of unstable bodies is another. 
Wide is the interval by which they are fenced off one from the other. Why 



306 

do you join together in your argument what cannot blend? how do you 
defile the purity of the Divine generation by your foul discourse? how do 
you make systems for the incorporeal by the passions that affect the 
body? Cease to draw your account of the nature of things above from 
those that are below. I proclaim the Lord as the Son of God, because the 
gospel from heaven, given through the bright cloud, thus proclaimed Him; 
for "This," He saith, "is My beloved Son." Yet, though I was taught that 
He is the Son, I was not dragged down by the name to the earthly 
significance of "Son," but I both know that He is from the Father and do 
not know that He is from passion. And this, moreover, I will add to what 
has been said, that I know even a bodily generation which is pure from 
passion, so that even on this point Eunomius' physiology of bodily 
generation is proved false, if, that is to say, a bodily birth can be found 
which does not admit passion. Tell me, was the Word made flesh, or not? 
You would not, I presume, say that It was not. It was so made, then, and 
there is none who denies it. How then was it that "God was manifested in 
the flesh"? "By birth," of course you will say. But what sort of birth do 
you speak of? Surely it is clear that you speak of that from the virginity, 
and that "that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost," and 
that "the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, and she 
brought forth," and none the less was her purity preserved in her 
child-bearing. You believe, then, that that birth which took place from a 
woman was pure from passion, if you do believe, but you refuse to admit 
the Divine and incorruptible generation from the Father, that you may 
avoid the idea of passion in generation. But I know well that it is not 
passion he seeks to avoid in his doctrine, for that he does not discern at all 
in the Divine and incorruptible nature; but to the end that the Maker of all 
creation may be accounted a part of creation, he builds up these arguments 
in order to a denial of the Only-begotten God, and uses his pretended 
caution about passion to help him in his task. 

2. He convicts Eunomius of having used of the Only-begotten terms applicable to 

the existence of the earth, and thus shows that his intention is to prove the Son to 

be a being, mutable and created. 

And this he shows very plainly by his contention against our arguments, 
where he says that "the essence of the Son came into being from the 
Father, not put forth by way of extension, not separated from its 



307 

conjunction with Him that generated Him by flux or division, not 
perfected by way of growth, not transformed by way of change, but 
obtaining existence by the mere will of the Generator." Why, what man 
whose mental senses are not closed up is left in ignorance by this utterance 
that by these statements the Son is being represented by Eunomius as a 
part of the creation? What hinders us from saying all this word for word as 
it stands, about every single one of the things we contemplate in creation? 
Let us apply, if you will, the definition to any of the things that appear in 
creation, and if it does not admit the same sequence, we will condemn 
ourselves for having examined the definition slightingly, and not with the 
care that befits the truth. Let us exchange, then, the name of the Son, and 
so read the definition word by word. We say that the essence of the earth 
came into being from the Father, not separated by way of extension or 
division from its conjunction with Him Who generated it, nor perfected by 
way of growth, nor put forth by way of change, but obtaining existence by 
the mere will of Him Who generated it. Is there anything in what we have 
said that does not apply to the existence of the earth? I think no one 
would say so: for God did not put forth the earth by being extended, nor 
bring its essence into existence by flowing or by dissevering Himself from 
conjunction with Himself, nor did He bring it by means of gradual growth 
from being small to completeness of magnitude, nor was He fashioned into 
the form of earth by undergoing mutation or alteration, but His will 
sufficed Him for the existence of all things that were made: "He spake and 
they were generated," so that even the name of "generation" does not fail 
to accord with the existence of the earth. Now if these things may be truly 
said of the parts of the universe, what doubt is still left as to our 
adversaries' doctrine, that while, so far as words go, they call Him "Son," 
they represent Him as being one of the things that came into existence by 
creation, set before the rest only in precedence of order? just as you might 
say about the trade of a smith, that from it come all things that are 
wrought out of iron; but that the instrument of the tongs and hammer, by 
which the iron is fashioned for use, existed before the making of the rest; 
yet, while this has precedence of the rest, there is not on that account any 
difference in respect of matter between the instrument that fashions and 
the iron that is shaped by the instrument, (for both one and the other are 
iron,) but the one form is earlier than the other. Such is the theology of 
heresy touching the Son, — to imagine that there is no difference between 



308 

the Lord Himself and the things that were made by Him, save the 
difference in respect of order. 

Who that is in any sense classed among Christians admits that the 
definition of the essence of the parts of the world, and of Him Who made 
the world, is the same? For my own part I shudder at the blasphemy, 
knowing that where the definition of things is the same neither is their 
nature different. For as the definition of the essence of Peter and John and 
other men is common and their nature is one, in the same way, if the Lord 
were in respect of nature even as the parts of the world, they must 
acknowledge that He is also subject to those things, whatever they may 
be, which they perceive in them. Now the world does not last for ever: 
thus, according to them, the Lord also will pass away with the heaven and 
the earth, if, as they say, He is of the same kind with the world. If on the 
other hand He is confessed to be eternal, we must needs suppose that the 
world too is not without some part in the Divine nature, if, as they say, it 
corresponds with the Only-begotten in the matter of creation. You see 
where this fine process of inference makes the argument tend, like a stone 
broken off from a mountain ridge and rushing down-hill by its own weight. 
For either the elements of the world must be Divine, according to the 
foolish belief of the Greeks, or the Son must not be worshipped. Let us 
consider it thus. We say that the creation, both what is perceived by the 
mind, and that which is of a nature to be perceived by sense, came into 
being from nothing: this they declare also of the Lord. We say that all 
things that have been made consist by the will of God: this they tell us 
also of the Only-begotten. We believe that neither the angelic creation nor 
the mundane is of the essence of Him that made it: and they make Him 
also alien from the essence of the Father. We confess that all things serve 
Him that made them: this view they also hold of the Only-begotten. 
Therefore, of necessity, whatever else it may be that they conceive of the 
creation, all these attributes they will also attach to the Only-begotten: and 
whatever they believe of Him, this they will also conceive of the creation: 
so that, if they confess the Lord as God, they will also deify the rest of 
the creation. On the other hand, if they define these things to be without 
share in the Divine nature, they will not reject the same conception 
touching the Only-begotten also. Moreover no sane man asserts Godhead 
of the creation. Then neither I do not utter the rest, lest I lend my tongue 



309 

to the blasphemy of the enemy. Let those say what consequence follows, 
whose mouth is well trained in blasphemy. But their doctrine is evident 
even if they hold their peace. For one of two things must necessarily 
happen: — either they will depose the Only-begotten God, so that with 
them He will no more either be, or be called so: or, if they assert Godhead 
of Him, they will equally assert it of all creation: — or, (for this is still left 
to them,) they will shun the impiety that appears on either side, and take 
refuge in the orthodox doctrine, and will assuredly agree with us that He is 
not created, that they may confess Him to be truly God. 

What need is there to take time to recount all the other blasphemies that 
underlie his doctrine, starting from this beginning? For by what we have 
quoted, one who considers the inference to be drawn will understand that 
the father of falsehood, the maker of death, the inventor of wickedness, 
being created in a nature intellectual and incorporeal, was not by that 
nature hindered from becoming what he is by way of change. For the 
mutability of essence, moved either way at will, involves a capacity of 
nature that follows the impulse of determination, so as to become that to 
which its determination leads it. Accordingly they will define the Lord as 
being capable even of contrary dispositions, drawing Him down as it were 
to a rank equal with the angels, by the conception of creation. But let them 
listen to the great voice of Paul. Why is it that he says that He alone has 
been called Son? Because He is not of the nature of angels, but of that 
which is more excellent. "For unto which of the angels said He at any time, 
'Thou art My Son, This day have I begotten Thee'? and when again He 
bringeth the first-begotten into the world He saith, 'And let all the angels 
of God worship Him.' And of the angels He saith, 'Who maketh His 
angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire' : but of the Son He saith, 
'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the 
scepter of Thy kingdom,'" and all else that the prophecy recites together 
with these words in declaring His Godhead. And he adds also from another 
Psalm the appropriate words, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the 
foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hands," 
and the rest, as far as "But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not 
fail," whereby he describes the immutability and eternity of His nature. If, 
then, the Godhead of the Only-begotten is as far above the angelic nature 
as a master is superior to his slaves, how do they make common either 



310 

with the sensible creation Him Who is Lord of the creation, or with the 
nature of the angels Him Who is worshipped by them, by detailing, 
concerning the manner of His existence, statements which will properly 
apply to the individual things we contemplate in creation, even as we 
already showed the account given by heresy, touching the Lord, to be 
closely and appropriately applicable to the making of the earth? 

3. He then again admirably discussed the term TtpcoTOTOKO^ as it is four times 

employed Apostle. 

But that the readers of our work may find no ambiguity left of such a kind 
as to afford any support to the heretical doctrines, it may be worth while 
to add to the passages examined by us this point also from Holy Scripture. 
They will perhaps raise a question from the very apostolic writings which 
we quoted: "How could He be called 'the first-born of creation' if He were 
not what creation is? for every first-born is the first-born not of another 
kind, but of its own as Reuben, having precedence in respect of birth of 
those who are counted after him, was the first-born, a man the first-born 
of men; and many others are called the first-born of the brothers who are 
reckoned with them." They say then, "We assert that He Who is 'the 
first-born of creation' is of that same essence which we consider the 
essence of all creation. Now if the whole creation is of one essence with 
the Father of all, we will not deny that the first born of creation is this 
also: but if the God of all differs in essence from the creation, we must of 
necessity say that neither has the first-born of creation community in 
essence with God." The structure of this objection is not. I think, at all 
less imposing in the form in which it is alleged by us, than in the form in 
which it would probably be brought against us by our adversaries. But 
what we ought to know as regards this point shall now, so far as we are 
able, be plainly set forth in our discourse. 

Four times the name of "first-born" or "first-begotten" is used by the 
Apostle in all his writings: but he has made mention of the name in 
different senses and not in the same manner. For now he speaks of "the 
first-born of all creation," and again of "the first-born among many 
brethren," then of "the first-born from the dead;" and in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews the name of "first-begotten" is absolute, being mentioned by 
itself: for he speaks thus, "When again He bringeth the first-begotten into 



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the world, He saith, 'Let all the angels worship Him.'" As these passages 
are thus distinct, it may be well to interpret each of them separately by 
itself, how He is the "first-born of creation," how "among many brethren," 
how "from the dead," and how, spoken of by Himself apart from each of 
these, when He is again brought into the world, He is worshipped by all 
His angels. Let us begin then, if you will, our survey of the passages 
before us with the last-mentioned. 

"When again He bringeth in," he says, "the first-begotten into the world." 
The addition of "again" shows, by the force of this word, that this event 
happens not for the first time: for we use tiffs word of the repetition of 
things which have once happened. He signifies, therefore, by the phrase, 
the dread appearing of the Judge at the end of the ages, when He is seen no 
more in the form of a servant, but seated in glory upon the throne of His 
kingdom, and worshipped by all the angels that are around Him. Therefore 
He Who once entered into the world, becoming the first-born "from the 
dead," and "of His brethren," and "of all creation," does not, when He 
comes again into the world as He that judges the world in righteousness, as 
the prophecy saith, east off the name of the first-begotten, which He once 
received for our sakes; but as at the name of Jesus, which is above every 
name, every knee bows, so also the company of all the angels worships 
Him Who comes in the name of the First-begotten, in their rejoicing over 
the restoration of men, wherewith, by becoming the first-born among us, 
He restored us again to the grace which we had at the beginning. For since 
there is joy among the angels over those who are rescued from sin, 
(because until now that creation groaneth and travaileth in pain at the 
vanity that affects us, judging our perdition to be their own loss,) when 
that manifestation of the sons of God takes place which they look for and 
expect, and when the sheep is brought safe to the hundred above, (and we 
surely — humanity that is to say — are that sheep which the Good 
Shepherd saved by becoming the first begotten) then especially will they 
offer, in their intense thanksgiving on our behalf, their worship to God, 
Who by being first-begotten restored him that bad wandered from his 
Father's home. 

Now that we have arrived at the understanding of these words, no one 
could any longer hesitate as to the other passages, for what reason He is 
the first-born, either "of the dead," or "of the creation," or "among many 



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brethren." For all these passages refer to the same point, although each of 
them sets forth some special conception. He is the first-born from the 
dead, Who first by Himself loosed the pains of death, that He might also 
make that birth of the resurrection a way for all men. Again, He becomes 
"the first-born among many brethren," Who is born before us by the new 
birth of regeneration in water, for the travail whereof the hovering of the 
Dove was the midwife, whereby He makes those who share with Him in 
the like birth to be His own brethren, and becomes the first-born of those 
who after Him are born of water and of the Spirit: and to speak briefly, as 
there are in us three births, whereby human nature is quickened, one of the 
body, another in the sacrament of regeneration, another by that 
resurrection of the dead for which we look, He is first-born in all three: — 
of the twofold regeneration which is wrought by two (by baptism and by 
the resurrection), by being Himself the leader in each of them; while it, the 
flesh He is first-born, as having first and alone devised in His own case 
that birth unknown to nature, which no one in the many generations of 
men had originated. If these passages, then, have been rightly understood, 
neither will the signification of the "creation," of which He is first-born, be 
unknown to as. For we recognize a twofold creation of our nature, the first 
that whereby we were made, the second that whereby we were made 
anew. But there would have been no need of the second creation had we 
not made the first unavailing by our disobedience. Accordingly, when the 
first creation had waxed old and vanished away, it was needful that there 
should be a new creation in Christ, (as the Apostle says, who asserts that 
we should no longer see in the second creation any trace of that which has 
waxed old, saying, "Having put off the old man with his deeds and his 
lusts, put on the new man which is created according to God," and "If any 
man be in Christ," he says, "he is a new creature: the old things are passed 
away, behold all things are become new:") — for the maker of human 
nature at the first and afterwards is one and the same. Then He took dust 
from the earth and formed man: again, He took dust from the Virgin, and 
did not merely form man, but formed man about Himself: then, He created; 
afterwards, He was created: then, the Word made flesh; afterwards, the 
Word became flesh, that He might change our flesh to spirit, by being 
made partaker with us in flesh and blood. Of this new creation therefore in 
Christ, which He Himself began, He was called the first-born, being the 
first-fruits of all, both of those begotten into life, and of those quickened 



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by resurrection of the dead, "that He might be Lord both of the dead and 
of the living," and might sanctify the whole lump by means of its 
first-fruits in Himself. Now that the character of "first-born" does not 
apply to the Son in respect of His pre temporal existence the appellation 
of "Only-begotten" testifies. For he who is truly only-begotten has no 
brethren, for bow could any one be only-begotten if numbered among 
brethren? but as He is called God and man, Son of God and Son of man, — 
for He has the form of God and the form of a servant, being some things 
according to His supreme nature, becoming other things in His 
dispensation of love to man, — so too, being the Only-begotten God, He 
becomes the first-born of all creation, — the Only-begotten, He that is in 
the bosom of the Father, yet, among the e who are saved by the new 
creation, both becoming and being called the first born of the creation. But 
if, as heresy will have it, He is called first-born because He was made 
before the rest of the creation, the name does not agree with what they 
maintain concerning the Only-begotten God. For they do not say this, — 
that the Son and the universe were from the Father in like manner, — but 
they say, that the Only-begotten God was made by the Father, and that all 
else was made by the Only-begotten. Therefore on the same ground on 
which, while they hold that the Son was created, they call God the Father 
of the created Being, on the same ground, while they say that all things 
were made by the Only-begotten God, they give Him the name not of the 
"first-born" of the things that were made by Him, but more properly of 
their "Father," as the same relation existing in both cases towards the 
things created, logically gives rise to the same appellation. For if God, 
Who is over all, is not properly called the "First-born," but the Father of 
the Being He Himself created, the Only-begotten God will surely also be 
called, by the same reasoning, the "father," and not properly the 
"first-born" of His own creatures, so that the appellation of "first-born" 
will be altogether improper and superfluous, having no place in the 
heretical conception, 

4. He proceeds again to discuss the impassibility of the Lord's generation; and the 

folly of Eunomius, who says that the generated essence involves the appellation of 

Son, and again, forgetting this, denies the relation of the Son to the Father: and 

herein he speaks of Circe and of the mandrake poison. 



314 

We must, however, return to those who connect passion with the Divine 
generation, and on this account deny that the Lord is truly begotten, in 
order to avoid the conception of passion. To say that passion is 
absolutely linked with generation, and that on this account, in order that 
the Divine nature may continue in purity beyond the reach of passion, we 
ought to consider that the Son is alien to the idea of generation, may 
perhaps appear reasonable in the eyes of those who are easily deceived, 
but those who are instructed in the Divine mysteries have an answer ready 
to band, based upon admitted facts. For who knows not that it is 
generation that leads us back to the true and blessed life, not being the 
same with that which takes place "of blood and of the will of the flesh," in 
which are flux and change, and gradual growth to perfection, and all else 
that we observe in our earthly generation: but the other kind is believed to 
be from God, and heavenly, and, as the Gospel says, "from above," which 
excludes the passions of flesh and blood? I presume that they both admit 
the existence of this generation, and find no passion in it. Therefore not all 
generation is naturally connected with passion, but the material generation 
is subject to passion, the immaterial pure from passion. What constrains 
him then to attribute to the incorruptible generation of the Son what 
properly belongs to the flesh, and, by ridiculing the lower form of 
generation with his unseemly physiology, to exclude the Son from affinity 
with the Father? For if, even in our own case, it is generation that is the 
beginning of either life, — that generation which is through the flesh of a 
life of passion, that which is spiritual of a life of purity, (and no one who 
is in any sense numbered among Christians would contradict this 
statement,) — how is it allowable to entertain the idea of passion in 
thinking of generation as it concerns the incorruptible Nature? Let us 
moreover examine this point in addition to those we have mentioned. If 
they disbelieve the passionless character of the Divine generation on the 
ground of the passion that affects the flesh, let them also, from the same 
tokens, (those, I mean, to be found in ourselves,) refuse to believe that 
God acts as a Maker without passion. For if they judge of the Godhead by 
comparison of our own conditions, they must not confess that God either 
begets or creates; for neither of these operations is exercised by ourselves 
without passion. Let them therefore either separate from the Divine nature 
both creation and generation, that they may guard the impassibility of God 
on either side, and let them, that the Father may be kept safely beyond the 



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range of passion, neither growing weary by creation, nor being defiled by 

generation, entirely reject front their doctrine the belief in the 

Only -begotten, or, if they agree that the one activity is exercised by the 

Divine power without passion, let them not quarrel about the other: for if 

He creates without labor or matter, He surely also begets without labor or 

flux. 

And here once more I have in this argument the support of Eunomius. I 
will state his nonsense concisely and briefly, epitomizing his whole 
meaning. That men do not make materials for us, but only by their art add 
form to matter, — this is the drift of what he says in the course of a great 
quantity of nonsensical language. If, then, understanding conception and 
formation to be included in the lower generation, he forbids on this ground 
the pure notion of generation, by consequence, on the same reasoning, 
since earthly creation is busied with the form, but cannot furnish matter 
together with the form, let him forbid us also, on this ground, to suppose 
that the Father is a Creator. If, on the other hand, he refuses to conceive 
creation in the case of God according to man's measure of power, let him 
also cease to slander Divine generation by human imperfections. But, that 
his accuracy and circumspection m argument may be more clearly 
established, I will again return to a small point in his statements. He 
asserts that "things which are respectively active and passive share one 
another's nature," and mentions, after bodily generation, "the work of the 
craftsman as displayed in materials." Now let the acute hearer mark how 
he here fails in his proper aim, and wanders about among whatever 
statements he happens to invent. He sees in things that come into being by 
way of the flesh the "active and passive conceived, with the same essence, 
the one imparting the essence, the other receiving it." Thus he knows how 
to discern the truth with accuracy as regards the nature of existing things, 
so as to separate the imparter and the receiver from the essence, and to say 
that each of these is distinct in himself apart from the essence. For he that 
receives or imparts is surely another besides that which is given or 
received, so that we must first conceive some one by himself, viewed in 
his own separate existence, and then speak of him as giving that which he 
has, or receiving that which he has not. And when he has sputtered out 
this argument in such a ridiculous fashion, our sage friend does not 
perceive that by the next step he overthrows himself once more. For he 



316 

who by his art forms at his will the material before him, surely in this 
operation acts; and the material, in receiving its form at the hand of him 
who exercises the art, is passively affected: for it is not by remaining 
unaffected and unimpressionable that the material receives its form. If 
then, even in the case of things wrought by art, nothing can come into 
being without passivity and action concurring to produce it, how can our 
author think that he here abides by his own words? seeing that, in 
declaring community of essence to be involved in the relation of action and 
passion, he seems not only to attest in some sense community of essence 
in Him that is begotten with Him that begat Him, but also to make the 
whole creation of one essence with its Maker, if, as he says, the active and 
the passive are to be defined as mutually akin in respect of nature. Thus, 
by the very arguments by which he establishes what he wishes, he 
overthrows the main object of his effort, and makes the glory of the 
co-essential Son more secure by his own contention. For if the fact of 
origination from anything shows the essence of the generator to be in the 
generated, and if artificial fabrication (being accomplished by means of 
action and passion) reduces both that which makes and that which is 
produced to community of essence, according to his account, our author in 
many places of his own writings maintains that the Lord has been 
begotten. Thus by the very arguments whereby he seeks to prove the Lord 
alien from the essence of the Father, he asserts for Him intimate 
connection. For if, according to his account, separation in essence is not 
observed either in generation or in fabrication, then, whatever he allows the 
Lord to be, whether "created" or a "product of generation," he asserts, by 
both names alike, the affinity of essence, seeing that he makes community 
of nature in active and passive, in generator and generated, a part of his 
system. 

Let us turn however to the next point of the argument. I beg my readers 
not to be impatient at the minuteness of examination which extends our 
argument to a length beyond what we would desire. For it is not any 
ordinary matters on which we stand in danger, so that our loss would be 
slight if we should hurry past any point that required more careful 
attention, but it is the very sum of our hope that we have at stake. For the 
alternative before us is, whether we should be Christians, not led astray by 
the destructive wiles of heresy, or whether we should be completely 



317 

swept away into the conceptions of Jews or heathen. To the end, then, 
that we may not suffer either of these things forbidden, that we may 
neither agree with the doctrine of the Jews by a denial of the verily 
begotten Son, nor be involved in the downfall of the idolaters by the 
adoration of the creature, let us perforce spend some time in the discussion 
of these matters, and set forth the very words of Eunomius, which run 
thus: — 

"Now as these things are thus divided, one might reasonably say that the 
most proper and primary essence, and that which alone exists by the 
operation of the Father, admits for itself the appellations of 'product of 
generation,' 'product of making,' and 'product of creation':" and a little 
further on he says, "But the Son alone, existing by the operation of the 
Father, possesses His nature and His relation to Him that begat Him, 
without community." Such are his words. But let us, like men who look on 
at their enemies engaged in a factious struggle among themselves, consider 
first our adversaries' contention against themselves, and so proceed to set 
forth on the other side the true doctrine of godliness. "The Son alone," he 
says, "existing by the operation of the Father, possesses His nature and 
His relation to Him that begat Him, without community." But in his 
previous statements, he says that he "does not refuse to call Him, that is 
begotten a 'product of generation,' as the generated essence itself, and the 
appellation of Son, make such a relation of words appropriate." 

The contradiction existing in these passages being thus evident, I am 
inclined to admire for their acuteness those who praise this doctrine. For it 
would be hard to say to which of his statements they could turn without 
finding themselves at variance with the remainder. His earlier statement 
represented that the generated essence, and the appellation of "Son," made 
such a relation of words appropriate. His present system says the 
contrary: — that "the Son possesses His relation to Him that begot Him 
without community." If they believe the first statement, they will surely 
not accept the second: if they incline to the latter, they will find 
themselves opposed to the earlier conception. Who will stay the combat? 
Who will mediate in this civil war? Who will bring this discord into 
agreement, when the very soul is divided against itself by the opposing 
statements, and drawn in different ways to contrary doctrines? Perhaps 
we may see here that dark saying of prophecy which David speaks of the 



318 

Jews — " They were divided but were not pricked at heart." For lo, not 
even when they are divided among contrariety of doctrines have they a 
sense of their discordancy, but they are carried about by their ears like 
wine-jars, borne around at the will of him who shifts them. It pleased him 
to say that the generated essence was closely connected with the 
appellation of "Son": straightway, like men asleep, they nodded assent to 
his remarks. He changed his statement again to the contrary one, and 
denies the relation of the Son to Him that begat Him: again his 
well-beloved friends join in assent to this also, shifting in whatever 
direction he chooses, as the shadows of bodies change their form by 
spontaneous mimicry with the motion of the advancing figure, and even if 
he contradicts himself, accepting that also. This is another form of the 
drought that Homer tells us of, not changing the bodies of those who drink 
its poison into the forms of brutes, but acting on their souls to produce in 
them a change to a state void of reason. For of those men, the tale tells that 
their mind was sound, while their form was changed to that of beasts, but 
here, while their bodies remain in their natural state, their souls are 
transformed to the condition of brutes. And as there the poet's tale of 
wonder says that those who drank the drug were changed into the forms of 
various beasts, at the pleasure of her who beguiled their nature, the same 
thing happens now also from this Circe's cup. For they who drink the 
deceit of sorcery from the same writing are changed to different forms of 
doctrine, transformed now to one, now to another. And meanwhile these 
very ridiculous people, according to the revised edition of the fable, are 
still well pleased with him who leads them to such absurdity, and stoop to 
father the words he scatters about, as if they were corneal fruit or acorns, 
running greedily like swine to the doctrines that are shed on the ground, 
not being naturally capable of fixing their gaze on those which are lofty 
and heavenly. For this reason it is that they do not see the tendency of his 
argument to contrary positions, but snatch without examination what 
comes in their way: and as they say that the bodies of men stupefied with 
mandrake are held in a sort of slumber and inability to move, so are the 
senses of these men's souls affected, being made torpid as regards the 
apprehension of deceit. It is certainly a terrible thing to be held in 
unconsciousness by hidden guile, as the result of some fallacious argument: 
yet where it is involuntary the misfortune is excusable: but to be brought 
to make trial of evil as the result of a kind of forethought and zealous 



319 

desire, not in ignorance of what will befall, surpasses every extreme of 
misery. Surely we may well complain, when we hear that even greedy fish 
avoid the steel when it comes near them unbaited, and take down the hook 
only when hope of food decoys them to a bait: but where the evil is 
apparent, to go over of their own accord to this destruction is a more 
wretched thing than the folly of the fish: for these are led by their 
greediness to a destruction that is concealed from them, but the others 
swallow with open mouth the hook of impiety in its bareness, satisfied 
with destruction under the influence of some unreasoning passion. For 
what could be clearer than this contradiction — than to say that the same 
Person was begotten and is a thing created, and that something is closely 
connected with the name of "Son," and, again, is alien from the sense of 
"Son"? But enough of these matters. 

5. He again shows Eunomius, constrained by truth, in the character of an 

advocate of the orthodox doctrine, confessing as most proper and primary, not 

only the essence of the Father, but the essence also of the Only begotten. 

It might, however, be useful to look at the sense of the utterance of 
Eunomius that is set before us in orderly sequence, recurring to the 
beginning of his statement. For the points we have now examined were an 
obvious incitement to us to begin our reply with the last passage, on 
account of the evident character of the contradiction involved in his words. 

This, then, is what Eunomius says at the beginning:- 

"Now, as these things are thus divided, one might reasonably say that the 
most proper and primary essence, and that which alone exists by the 
operation of the Father, admits for itself the appellations of 'product of 
generation,' 'product of making,' and 'product of creation.'" First, then, I 
would ask those who are attending to this discourse to bear in mind, that 
in his first composition he says that the essence of the Father also is 
"most proper," introducing his statement with these words, "The whole 
account of our teaching is completed with the supreme and most proper 
essence." And here he calls the essence of the Only-begotten "most proper 
and primary." Thus putting together Eunomius' phrases from each of his 
books, we shall call him himself as a witness of the community of essence, 
who in another place makes a declaration to this effect, that "of things 
which have the same appellations, the nature also is not different" in any 



320 

way. For our self-contradictory friend would not indicate things differing 
in nature by identity of appellation, but it is surely for this reason, that 
the definition of essence in Father and Son is one, that he says that the one 
is "most proper," and that the other also is "most proper." And the 
general usage of men bears witness to our argument, which does not apply 
the term "most proper" where the name does not truly agree with the 
nature. For instance, we call a likeness, inexactly, "a man," but what we 
properly designate by this name is the animal presented to us in nature. 
And similarly, the language of Scripture recognizes the appellation of 
"God" for an idol, and for a demon, and for the belly: but here too the 
name has not its proper sense; and in the same way with all other cases. A 
man is said to have eaten food in the fancy of a dream, but we cannot call 
this fancy food, in the proper sense of the term. As, then, in the case of 
two men existing naturally, we properly call both equally by the name of 
man, while if any one should join an inanimate portrait in his enumeration 
with a real man, one might perhaps speak of him who really exists and of 
the likeness, as "two men," but would no longer attribute to both the 
proper meaning of the word, so, on the supposition that the nature of the 
Only-begotten was conceived as something else than the essence of the 
Father, our author would not have called each of the essences "most 
proper." For how could any one signify things differing in nature by 
identity of names? Surely the truth seems to be made plain even by those 
who fight against it, as falsehood is unable, even when expressed in the 
words of the enemy, utterly to prevail over truth. Hence the doctrine of 
orthodoxy is proclaimed by the mouth of its opponents, without their 
knowing what they say, as the saving Passion of the Lord for us had been 
foretold in the case of Caiaphas, not knowing what he said. If, therefore, 
true propriety of essence is common to both (I mean to the Father and the 
Son), what room is there for saying that their essences are mutually 
divergent? Or how is a difference by way of superior power, or greatness, 
or honor, contemplated in them, seeing that the "most proper "essence 
admits of no diminution? For that which is whatever it is imperfectly, is 
not that thing "most properly," be it nature, or power, or rank, or any 
other individual object of contemplation, so that the superiority of the 
Father's essence, as heresy will have it, proves the imperfection of the 
essence of the Son. If then it is imperfect, it is not proper; but if it is 
"most proper" it is also surely perfect. For it is not possible to call that 



321 

which is deficient perfect. But neither is it possible, when, in comparing 
them, that which is perfect is set beside that which is perfect, to perceive 
any difference by way of excess or defect: for perfection is one in both 
cases, as in a rule, not showing a hollow by defect, nor a projection by 
excess. Thus, from these passages Eunomius' advocacy in favor of our 
doctrine may be sufficiently seen — I should rather say, not his 
earnestness on our behalf, but his conflict with himself. For he turns 
against himself those devices whereby he establishes our doctrines by his 
own arguments. Let us, however, once more follow his writings word for 
word, that it may be clear to all that their argument has no power for evil 
except the desire to do mischief. 

6. He then exposes argument about the "Generate," and the "product of making," 

and "product of creation," and shows the impious nature of the language of 

Eunomius and Theognostus on the "immediate" and "undivided" character of the 

essence, and its "relation to its creator and maker." 

Let us listen, then, to what he says. "One might reasonably say that the 
most proper and primary essence, and that which alone exists by the 
operation of the Father, admits for itself the appellations of 'product of 
generation,' 'product of making,' and 'product of creation.'" Who knows 
not that what separates the Church from heresy is this term, "product of 
creation," applied to the Son? Accordingly, the doctrinal difference being 
universally acknowledged, what would be the reasonable course for a man 
to take who endeavors to show that his opinions are more true than ours? 
Clearly, to establish his own statement, by showing, by such proofs as he 
could, that we ought to consider that the Lord is created. Or omitting this, 
should he rather lay down a law for his readers that they should speak of 
matters of controversy as if they were acknowledged facts? For my own 
part, I think he should take the former course, and perhaps all who 
possess any share of intelligence demand this of their opponents, that 
they should, to begin with, establish upon some incontrovertible basis the 
first principle of their argument, and so proceed to press their theory by 
inferences. Now our writer leaves alone the task of establishing the view 
that we should think He is created, and goes on to the next steps, fitting on 
the inferential process of his argument to this unproved assumption, being 
just in the condition of those men whose minds are deep in foolish desires, 
with their thoughts wandering upon a kingdom, or upon some other object 
of pursuit. They do not think how any of the things on which they set 



322 

their hearts could possibly be, but they arrange and order their good 
fortune for themselves at their pleasure, as if it were theirs already, 
straying with a kind of pleasure among non-existent things. So, too, our 
clever author somehow or other lulls his own renowned dialectic to sleep, 
and before giving a demonstration of the point at issue, he tells, as if to 
children, the tale of this deceitful and inconsequent folly of his own 
doctrine, setting it forth like a story told at a drinking-party. For he says 
that the essence which "exists by the operation of the Father "admits the 
appellation of "product of generation," and of "product of making," and of 
"product of creation." What reasoning showed us that the Son exists by 
any constructive operation, and that the nature of the Father remains 
inoperative with regard to the Personal existence of the Son? This was the 
very point at issue in the controversy, whether the essence of the Father 
begat the Son, or whether it made Him as one of the external things which 
accompany His nature. Now seeing that the Church, according to the 
Divine teaching, believes the Only-begotten to be verily God, and abhors 
the superstition of polytheism, and for this cause does not admit the 
difference of essences, in order that the Godheads may not, by divergence 
of essence, fall under the conception of number (for this is nothing else 
than to introduce polytheism into our life) — seeing, I say, that the 
Church teaches this in plain language, that the Only-begotten is essentially 
God, very God of the essence of the very God, how ought one who 
opposes her decisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion? Should he 
not do so by establishing the opposing statement, demonstrating the 
disputed point from some acknowledged principle? I think no sensible 
man would look for anything else than this. But our author starts from the 
disputed points, and takes, as though it were admitted, matter which is in 
controversy as a principle for the succeeding argument. If it had first been 
shown that the Son had His existence through some operation, what 
quarrel should we have with what follows, that he should say that the 
essence which exists through an operation admits for itself the name of 
"product of making"? But let the advocates of error tell us how the 
consequence has any force, so long as the antecedent remains 
unestablished. For supposing one were to grant by way of hypothesis that 
man is winged, there will be no question of concession about what comes 
next: for he who becomes winged will fly in some way or other, and lift 
himself up on high above the earth, soaring through the air on his wings. 



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But we have to see how he whose nature is not aerial could become 
winged, and if this condition does not exist, it is vain to discuss the next 
point. Let our author, then, show this to begin with, that it is in vain that 
the Church has believed that the Only-begotten Son truly exists, not 
adopted by a Father falsely so called, but existing according to nature, by 
generation from Him Who is, not alienated from the essence of Him that 
begat Him. But so long as his primary proposition remains unproved, it is 
idle to dwell on those which are secondary. And let no one interrupt me, 
by saying that what we confess should also be confirmed by constructive 
reasoning: for it is enough for proof of our statement, that the tradition has 
come down to us from our fathers, handled on, like some inheritance, by 
succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them. They, 
on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need 
the support of arguments in abundance, if they were about to bring over to 
their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and 
steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being 
established, and without being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish as 
to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who 
have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this 
undemonstrated nonsense? 

Let us further look at the most remarkable instance of our author's 
cleverness; how, by the abundance of his dialectic skill, he ingeniously 
draws over to the contrary view the more simple sort. He throws in, as an 
addition to the title of "product of making," and that of "product of 
creation," the further phrase, "product of generation," saying that the 
essence of the Son "admits these names for itself; and thinks that, so long 
as be harangues as if he were in some gathering of topers, his knavery in 
dealing with doctrine will not be detected by any one. For in joining 
"product of generation" with "product of making," and "product of 
creation," he thinks that he stealthily makes away with the difference in 
significance between the names, by putting together what have nothing in 
common. These are his clever tricks of dialectic; but we mere laymen in 
argument do not deny that, so far as voice and tongue are concerned, we 
are what his speech sets forth about us, but we allow also that our ears, as 
the prophet says, are made ready for intelligent hearing. Accordingly, we 
are not moved, by the conjunction of names that have nothing in common, 



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to make a confusion between the things they signify: but even if the great 
Apostle names together wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver, and precious 
stones, we reckon up summarily the number of things he mentions, and 
yet do not fail to recognize separately the nature of each of the substances 
named. So here, too, when "product of generation" and "product of 
making" are named together, we pass from the sounds to the sense, and do 
not behold the same meaning in each of the names; for "product of 
creation" means one thing, and "product of generation" another: so that 
even if he tries to mingle what will not blend, the intelligent hearer will 
listen with discrimination, and will point out that it is an impossibility for 
any one nature to "admit for itself the appellation of "product of 
generation," and that of "product of creation." For, if one of these were 
true, the other would necessarily be false, so that, if the thing were a 
product of creation, it would not be a product of generation, and 
conversely, if it were called a product of generation, it would be alienated 
from the title of "product of creation." Yet Eunomius tells us that the 
essence of the Son "admits for itself the appellations of 'product of 
generation,' 'product of making,' and 'product of creation'"! 

Does he, by what still remains, make at all more secure this headless and 
rootless statement of his, in which, in its earliest stage, nothing was laid 
down that had any force with regard to the point he is trying to establish? 
or does the rest also cling to the same folly, not deriving its strength from 
any support it gets from argument, but setting out its exposition of 
blasphemy with vague details like the recital of dreams? He says (and this 
he subjoins to what I have already quoted) — "Having its generation 
without intervention, and preserving indivisible its relation to its 
Generator, Maker, and Creator." Well, if we were to leave alone the 
absence of intervention and of division, and look at the meaning of the 
words as it stands by itself, we shall find that everywhere his absurd 
teaching is cast upon the ears of those whom he deceives, without 
corroboration from a single argument. "Its Generator, and Maker, and 
Creator," he says. These names, though they seem to be three, include the 
sense of but two concepts, since two of the words are equivalent in 
meaning. For to make is the same as to create, but generation is another 
thing distinct from those spoken of. Now, seeing that the result of the 
signification of the words is to divide the ordinary apprehension of men 



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into different ideas, what argument demonstrates to us that making is the 
same thing with generation, to the end that we may accommodate the one 
essence to this difference of terms? For so long as the ordinary significance 
of the words holds, and no argument is found to transfer the sense of the 
terms to an opposite meaning, it is not possible that any one nature should 
be divided between the conception of "product of making," and that of 
"product of generation." Since each of these terms, used by itself, has a 
meaning of its own, we must also suppose the relative conjunction in 
which they stand to be appropriate and germane to the terms. For all other 
relative terms have their connection, not with what is foreign and 
heterogeneous, but, even if the correlative term be suppressed, we hear 
spontaneously, together with the primary word, that which is linked with 
it, as in the case of "maker," "slave," "friend," "son," and so forth. For all 
names that are considered as relative to another, present to us, by the 
mention of them, each its proper and closely connected relationship with 
that which it declares, while they avoid all mixture of that which is 
heterogeneous. For neither is the name of "maker" linked with the word 
"son," nor the term "slave" referred to the term "maker," nor does "friend" 
present to us a "slave," nor "son" a "master," but we recognize clearly and 
distinctly the connection of each of these with its correlative, conceiving 
by the word "friend" another friend; by "slave," a master; by "maker," 
work; by "son," a father. In the same way, then, "product of generation" 
has its proper relative sense; with the "product of generation," surely, is 
linked the generator, and with the "product of creation" the creator, and 
we must certainly, if we are not prepared by a substitution of names to 
introduce a confusion of things, preserve for each of the relative terms that 
which it properly connotes. 

Now, seeing that the tendency of the meaning of these words is manifest, 
how comes it that one who advances his doctrine by the aid of logical 
system failed to perceive in these names their proper relative sense? But 
he thinks that he is linking on the "product of generation" to "maker," and 
the "product of making" to "generator," by saying that the essence of the 
Son "admits for itself the appellations of 'product of generation,' 'product 
of making,' and 'product of creation,'" and "preserves indivisible its 
relation to its Generator, Maker, and Creator." For it is contrary to nature, 
that a single thing should be split up into different relations. But the Son is 



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properly related to the Father, and that which is begotten to him that begat 
it, while the "product of making" has its relation to its "maker"; save if 
one might consider some inexact use, in some undistinguishing way of 
common parlance, to overrule the strict signification. 

By what reasoning then is it, and by what arguments, according to that 
invincible logic of his, that he wins back the opinion of the mass of men, 
and follows out at his pleasure this line of thought, that as the God Who is 
over all is conceived and spoken of both as "Creator" and as "Father," the 
Son has a close connection with both titles, being equally called both 
"product of creation" and "product of generation"? For as customary 
accuracy of speech distinguishes between names of this kind, and applies 
the name of "generation" in the case of things generated from the essence 
itself, and understands that of "creation" of those things which are external 
to the nature of their maker, and as on this account the Divine doctrines, in 
handing down the knowledge of God, have delivered to us the names of 
"Father" and "Son," not those of "Creator" and "work," that there might 
arise no error tending to blasphemy (as might happen if an appellation of 
the latter kind repelled the Son to the position of an alien and a stranger), 
and that the impious doctrines which sever the Only-begotten from 
essential affinity with the Father might find no entrance — seeing all this, I 
say, he who declares that the appellation of "product of making" is one 
befitting the Son, will safely say by consequence that the name of "Son" is 
properly applicable to that which is the product of making; so that, if the 
Son is a "product of making," the heaven is called "Son," and the 
individual things that have been made are, according to our author, 
properly named by the appellation of "Son." For if He has this name, not 
because He shares in nature with Him that begat Him, but is called Son for 
this reason, that He is created, the same argument will permit that a lamb, 
a dog, a frog, and all things that exist by the will of their maker, should be 
named by the title of "Son." If, on the other hand, each of these is not a 
Son and is not called God, by reason of its being external to the nature of 
the Son, it follows, surely, that He Who is truly Son is Son, and is 
confessed to be God by reason of His being of the very nature of Him that 
begat Him. But Eunomius abhors the idea of generation, and excludes it 
from the Divine doctrine, slandering the term by his fleshly speculations. 
Well, our discourse, in what precedes, showed sufficiently on this point 



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that, as the Psalmist says, "they are afraid where no fear is." For if it was 
shown in the case of men that not all generation exists by way of passion, 
but that that which is material is by passion, while that which is spiritual 
is pure and incorruptible, (for that which is begotten of the Spirit is spirit 
and not flesh, and in spirit we see no condition that is subject to passion,) 
since our author thought it necessary to estimate the Divine power by 
means of examples among ourselves, let him persuade himself to conceive 
from the other mode of generation the passionless character of the Divine 
generation. Moreover, by mixing up together these three names, of which 
two are equivalent, he thinks that his readers, by reason of the community 
of sense in the two phrases, will jump to the conclusion that the third is 
equivalent also. For since the appellation of "product of making," and 
"product of creation," indicate that the thing made is external to the nature 
of the maker, he couples with these the phrase, "product of generation," 
that this too may be interpreted along with those above mentioned. But 
argument of this sort is termed fraud and falsehood and imposition, not a 
thoughtful and skillful demonstration. For that only is called 
demonstration which shows what is unknown from what is acknowledged; 
but to reason fraudulently and fallaciously, to conceal your own reproach, 
and to confound by superficial deceits the understanding of men, as the 
Apostle says, "of corrupt minds," this no sane man would call a skillful 
demonstration. 

Let us proceed, however, to what follows in order. He says that the 
generation of the essence is "without intervention," and that it "preserves 
indivisible its relation to its Generator, Maker, and Creator." Well, if he 
had spoken of the immediate and indivisible character of the essence, and 
stopped his discourse there, it would not have swerved from the orthodox 
view, since we too confess the close connection and relation of the Son 
with the Father, so that there is nothing inserted between them which is 
found to intervene in the connection of the Son with the Father, no 
conception of interval, not even that minute and indivisible one, which, 
when time is divided into past, present, and future, is conceived 
indivisibly by itself as the present, as it cannot be considered as a part 
either of the past or of the future, by reason of its being quite without 
dimensions and incapable of division, and unobservable, to whichever side 
it might be added. That, then, which is perfectly immediate, admits we 



328 

say, of no such intervention; for that which is separated by any interval 
would cease to be immediate. If, therefore, our author, likewise, in saying 
that the generation of the Son is "without intervention," excluded all these 
ideas then he laid down the orthodox doctrine of the conjunction of Him 
Who is with the Father. When, however, as though in a fit of repentance, 
he straightway proceeded to add to what he had said that the essence 
"preserves its relation to its Generator, Maker, and Creator," he polluted 
his first statement by his second, vomiting forth his blasphemous 
utterance upon the pure doctrine. For it is clear that there too his "without 
intervention" has no orthodox intention, but, as one might say that the 
hammer is mediate between the smith and the nail, but its own making is 
"without intervention," because, when tools had not yet been found out 
by the craft, the hammer came first from the craftsman's hands by some 
inventive process, not by means of any other tool, and so by it the others 
were made; so the phrase, "without intervention," indicates that this is 
also our author's conception touching the Only-begotten. And here 
Eunomius is not alone in his error as regards the enormity of his doctrine, 
but you may find a parallel also in the works of Theognostus, who says 
that God, wishing to make this universe, first brought the Son into 
existence as a sort of standard of the creation; not perceiving that in his 
statement there is involved this absurdity, that what exists, not for its own 
sake, but for the sake of something else, is surely of less value than that 
for the sake of which it exists: as we provide an implement of husbandry 
for the sake of life, yet the plough is surely not reckoned as equally 
valuable with life. So, if the Lord also exists on account of the world, and 
not all things on account of Him, the whole of the things for the sake of 
which they say He exists, would be more valuable than the Lord. And this 
is what they are here establishing by their argument, where they insist that 
the Son has His relation to His Creator and Maker "without intervention." 

7. He then clearly and skillfully criticizes the doctrine of the impossibility of 

comparison with the things made after the Son, and exposes idolatry contrived by 

Eunomius, and concealed by the terminology of "Son" and "Only-begotten," to 

deceive his readers. 

In the remainder of the passage, however, he becomes conciliatory, and 
says that the essence "is not compared with any of the things that were 
made by it and after it." Such are the gifts which the enemies of the truth 



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offer to the Lord, by which their blasphemy is made more manifest. Tell 
me what else is there of all things in creation the admits of comparison 
with a different thing, seeing that the characteristic nature that appears in 
each absolutely rejects community with things of a different kind? The 
heaven admits no comparison with the earth, nor this with the stars, nor 
the stars with the seas, nor water with stone, nor animals with trees, nor 
land animals with winged creatures, nor four-footed beasts with those that 
swim, nor irrational with rational creatures. Indeed, why should one take 
up time with individual instances, in showing that we may say of every 
single thing that we behold in the creation, precisely what was thrown to 
the Only-begotten, as if it were something special — that He admits of 
comparison with none of the things that have been produced after Him and 
by Him? For it is clear that everything which you conceive by itself is 
incapable of comparison with the universe, and with the individual things 
which compose it; and it is this, which may be truly said of any creature 
you please, which is allotted by the enemies of the truth, as adequate and 
sufficient for His honor and glory, to the Only-begotten God! And once 
more, putting together phrases of the same sort in the remainder of the 
passage, he dignifies Him with his empty honors, calling Him "Lord" and 
"Only-begotten": but that no orthodox meaning may be conveyed to his 
readers by these names, he promptly mixes up blasphemy with the more 
notable of them. His phrase runs thus: — "Inasmuch," he says, "as the 
generated essence leaves no room for community to anything else (for it is 
only-begotten), nor is the operation of the Maker contemplated as 
common." O marvelous insolence! as though he were addressing his 
harangue to brutes, or senseless beings "which have no understanding," he 
twists his argument about in contrary ways, as he pleases; or rather he 
suffers as men do who are deprived of sight; for they too behave often in 
unseemly ways before the eyes of those who see, supposing, because they 
themselves cannot see, that they are also unseen. For what sort of man is 
it who does not see the contradiction in his words? Because it is 
"generated," he says, the essence leaves other things no room for 
community, for it is only-begotten; and then when he has uttered these 
words, really as though he did not see or did not suppose himself to be 
seen, he tacks on, as if corresponding to what he has said, things that have 
nothing in common with them, coupling "the operation of the maker" with 
the essence of the Only-begotten. That which is generated is correlative to 



330 

the generator, and the Only-begotten, surely, by consequence, to the 
Father; and he who looks to the truth beholds, in co-ordination with the 
Son, not "the operation of the maker," but the nature of Him that begat 
Him. But he, as if he were talking about plants or seeds, or some other 
thing in the order of creation, sets "the operation of the maker" by the side 
of the existence of the Only -begotten. Why, if a stone or a stick, or 
something of that sort, were the subject of consideration, it would be 
logical to pre-suppose "the operation of the maker"; but if the 
Only-begotten God is confessed, even by His adversaries, to be a Son, and 
to exist by way of generation, how do the same words befit Him that befit 
the lowest portions of the creation? how do they think it pious to say 
concerning the Lord the very thing which may be truly said of an ant or a 
gnat? For if any one understood the nature of an ant, and its peculiar ties 
in reference to other living things, he would not be beyond the truth in 
saying that "the operation of its maker is not contemplated as common" 
with reference to the other things. What, therefore, is affirmed of such 
things as these, this they predicate also of the Only-begotten, and as 
hunters are said to intercept the passage of their game with holes, and to 
conceal their design by covering over the mouths of the holes with some 
unsound and unsubstantial material, in order that the pit may seem level 
with the ground about it, so heresy contrives against men something of the 
same sort, covering over the hole of their impiety with these fine- sounding 
and pious names, as it were with a level thatch, so that those who are 
rather unintelligent, thinking that these men's preaching is the same with 
the true faith, because of the agreement of their words, hasten towards the 
mere name of the Son and the Only-begotten, and step into emptiness in 
the hole, since the significance of these titles will not sustain the weight of 
their tread, but lets them down into the pitfall of the denial of Christ. This 
is why be speaks of the generated essence that leaves nothing room for 
community, and calls it "Only-begotten." These are the coverings of the 
hole. But when any one stops before he is caught in the gulf, and puts 
forth the test of argument, like a hand, upon his discourse, he sees the 
dangerous downfall of idolatry lying beneath the doctrine. For when he 
draws near, as though to God and the Son of God, he finds a creature of 
God set forth for his worship. This is why they proclaim high and low the 
name of the Only-begotten, that the destruction may be readily accepted 
by the victims of their deceit, as though one were to mix up poison in 



331 

bread, and give a deadly greeting to those who asked for food, who would 
not have been willing to take the poison by itself, had they not been 
enticed to what they saw. Thus he has a sharp eye to the object of his 
efforts, at least so far as his own opinion goes. For if he had entirely 
rejected from his teaching the name of the Son, his falsehood would not 
have been acceptable to men, when his denial was openly stated in a 
definite proclamation; but now leaving only the name, and changing the 
signification of it to express creation, he at once sets up his idolatry, and 
fraudulently hides its reproach. But since we are bidden not to honor God 
with our lips, and piety is not tested by the sound of a ward, but the Son 
must first be the object of belief in the heart unto righteousness, and then 
be confessed with the mouth unto salvation, and those who say in their 
hearts that He is not God, even though with their mouths they confess 
Him as Lord, are corrupt and became abominable, as the prophet says, — 
for this cause, I say, we must look to the mind of those who put forward, 
forsooth, the words of the faith, and not be enticed to follow their sound. 
If, then, one who speaks of the Son does not by that word refer to a 
creature, he is on our side and not on the enemy's; but if any one applies 
the name of Son to the creation, he is to be ranked among idolaters. For 
they too gave the name of God to Dagon and Bel and the Dragon, but they 
did not on that account worship God. For the wood and the brass and the 
monster were not God. 

8. He proceeds to show that there is no "variance" in the essence of the Father and 

the Son: wherein he expounds many forms of variation and harmony, and 

explains the "form," the "seal," and the "express intake." 

But what need is there in our discourse to reveal his hidden deceit by mere 
guesses at his intention, and possibly to give our hearers occasions for 
objection, on the ground that we make these charges against our enemies 
untruly? For lo, he sets forth to us his blasphemy in its nakedness, not 
hiding his guile by any veil, but speaking boldly in his absurdities with 
unrestrained voice. What he has written runs thus: — "We, for our part," 
he says, "as we find nothing else besides the essence of the Son which 
admits of the generation, are of opinion that we must assign the 
appellations to the essence itself, or else we speak of 'Son' and 'begotten' 
to no purpose, and as a mere verbal matter, if we are really to separate 



332 

them from the essence; starting from these names, we also confidently 
maintain that the essences are variant from each other." 

There is no need, I imagine, that the absurdity here laid down should be 
refuted by arguments from us. The mere reading of what he has written is 
enough to pillory his blasphemy. But let us thus examine it. He says that 
the essences of the Father and the Son are "variant." What is meant by 
"variant"? Let us first of all examine the force of the term as it is applied 
by itself, that by the interpretation of the word its blasphemous character 
may be more clearly revealed. The term "variance" is used, in the inexact 
sense sanctioned by custom, of bodies, when, by palsy or any other 
disease, any limb is perverted from its natural co-ordination. For we 
speak, comparing the state of suffering with that of health, of the 
condition of one who has been subjected to a change for the worse, as 
being a "variation" from his usual health; and in the case of those who 
differ in respect of virtue and vice, comparing the licentious life with that 
of purity and temperance, or the unjust life with that of justice, or the life 
which is passionate, warlike, and prodigal of anger, with that which is mild 
and peaceful — and generally all that is reproached with vice, as compared 
with what is more excellent, is said to exhibit "variance" from it, because 
the marks observed in both — in the good, I mean, and the inferior — do 
not mutually agree. Again, we say that those qualities observed in the 
elements are "at variance" which are mutually opposed as contraries, 
having a power reciprocally destructive, as heat and cold, or dryness and 
moisture, or, generally, anything that is opposed to another as a contrary; 
and the absence of union in these we express by the term "variation"; and 
generally everything which is out of harmony with another in their 
observed characteristics, is said to be "at variance" with it, as health with 
disease, life with death, war with peace, virtue with vice, and all similar 
cases. 

Now that we have thus analyzed these expressions, let us also consider in 
regard to our author in what sense he says that the essences of the Father 
and the Son are "variant from each other." What does he mean by it? Is it 
in the sense that the Father is according to nature, while the Son "varies" 
from that nature? Or does he express by this word the perversion of 
virtue, separating the evil from the more excellent by the name of 
"variation," so as to regard the one essence in a good, the other m a 



333 

contrary aspect? Or does he assert that one Divine essence also is variant 
from another, in the manner of the opposition of the elements? or as war 
stands to peace, and life to death, does he also perceive in the essences the 
conflict which so exists among all such things, so that they cannot unite 
one with another, because the mixture of contraries exerts upon the things 
mingled a consuming force, as the wisdom of the Proverbs saith of such a 
doctrine, that water and fire never say "It is enough," expressing 
enigmatically the nature of contraries of equal force and equal balance, and 
their mutual destruction? Or is it in none of these ways that he sees 
"variance" in the essences? Let him tell us, then, what he conceives besides 
these. He could not say, I take it, even if he were to repeat his wonted 
phrase, "The Son is variant from Him Who begot Him"; for thereby the 
absurdity of his statements is yet more clearly shown. For what mutual 
relation is so closely and concordantly engrafted and fitted together as that 
meaning of relation to the Father expressed by the word "Son"? And a 
proof of this is that even if both of these names be not spoken, that which 
is omitted is connoted by the one that is uttered, so closely is the one 
implied in the other, and concordant with it: and both of them are so 
discerned in the one that one cannot be conceived without the other. Now 
that which is "at variance" is surely so conceived and so called, in 
opposition to that which is "in harmony," as the plumb-line is in harmony 
with the straight line, while that which is crooked, when set beside that 
which is straight, does not harmonize with it. Musicians also are wont to 
call the agreement of notes "harmony," and that which is out of tune and 
discordant "inharmonious." To speak of things as at "variance," then, is 
the same as to speak of them as "out of harmony." If, therefore, the nature 
of the Only-begotten God is at "variance," to use the heretical phrase, 
with the essence of the Father, it is surely not in harmony with it: and in 
harmoniousness cannot exist where there is no possibility of harmony. For 
the case is as when, the figure in the wax and in the graying of the signet 
being one, the wax that has been stamped by the signet, when it is fitted 
again, to the latter, makes the impression on itself accord with that which 
surrounds it, filling up the hollows and accommodating the projections of 
the engraving with its own patterns: but if some strange and different 
pattern is fitted to the engraving of the signet, it makes its own form rough 
and confused, by rubbing off its figure on an engraved surface that does 
not correspond with it. But He Who is "in the form of God" has been 



334 

formed by no impression different from the Father, seeing that He is "the 
express image" of the Father's Person, while the "form of God" is surely 
the same thing as His essence. For as, "being made in the form of a 
servant," He was formed in the essence of a servant, not taking upon Him 
the form merely, apart from the essence, but the essence is involved in the 
sense of "form," so, surely, he who says that He is "in the form of God" 
signified essence by" form." If, therefore, He is "in the form of God," and 
being in the Father is sealed with the Father's glory, (as the word of the 
Gospel declares, which Saith, "Him hath God the Father sealed," — 
whence also "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,") then "the 
image of goodness" and "the brightness of glory," and all other similar 
titles, testify that the essence of the Son is not out of harmony with the 
Father. Thus by the text cited is shown the insubstantial character of the 
adversaries' blasphemy. For if things at "variance" are not in harmony, 
and He Who is sealed by the Father, and displays the Father in Himself, 
both being in the Father, and having the Father in Himself, shows in all 
points His close relation and harmony, then the absurdity of the opposing 
views is hereby overwhelmingly shown. For as that which is at "variance" 
was shown to be out of harmony, so conversely that which is harmonious 
is surely confessed beyond dispute not to be at "variance." For as that 
which is at "variance" is not harmonious, so the harmonious is not at 
"variance." Moreover, he who says that the nature of the Only-begotten is 
at "variance" with the good essence of the Father, clearly has in view 
variation in the good itself. But as for what that is which is at variance 
with the good — "O ye simple," as the Proverb saith, "understand his 
craftiness!" 

9. Then, distinguishing between essence and generation, he declares the empty and 

frivolous language of Eunomius to & like a rattle. He proceeds to show that the 

language used by the great Basil on the subject of the generation of the 

Only-begotten has been grievously slandered by Eunomius, and so ends the book. 

I will pass by these matters, however, as the absurdity involved is evident; 
let us examine what precedes. He says that nothing else is found, "besides 
the essence of the Son, which admits of the generation." What does he 
mean when he says this? He distinguishes two names from each other, and 
separating by his discourse the things signified by them, he sets each of 
them individually apart by itself. "The generation" is one name, and "the 



335 

essence" is another. The essence, he tells us, "admits of the generation," 
being therefore of course something distinct from the generation. For if the 
generation were the essence (which is the very thing he is constantly 
declaring), so that the two appellations are equivalent in sense, he would 
not have said that the essence "admits of the generation": for that would 
amount to saying that the essence admits of the essence, or the generation 
the generation, — if, that is, the generation were the same thing as the 
essence. He understands, then, the generation to be one thing, and the 
essence to be another, which "admits of generation": for that which is 
taken cannot be the same with that which admits it. Well, this is what the 
sage and systematic statement of our author says: but as to whether there 
is any sense in his words, let him consider who is expert in judging. I will 
resume his actual words. 

He says that he finds "nothing else besides the essence of the Son which 
admits of the generation"; that there is no sense in his words however, is 
clear to every one who hears his statement at all: the task which remains 
seems to be to bring to light the blasphemy which he is trying to construct 
by aid of these meaningless words. For he desires, even if he cannot effect 
his purpose, to produce in his hearers by this slackness of expression, the 
notion that the essence of the Son is the result of construction: but he calls 
its construction "generation," decking out his horrible blasphemy with the 
fairest phrase, that if "construction" is the meaning conveyed by the word 
"generation," the idea of the creation of the Lord may receive a ready 
assent. He says, then, that the essence "admits of generation," so that 
every construction may be viewed, as it were, in some subject matter. For 
no one would say that that is constructed which has no existence, so 
extending "making" in his discourse, as if it were some constructed fabric, 
to the nature of the Only-begotten God. "If, then," he says, "it admits of 
this generation," — wishing to convey some such meaning as this, that it 
would not have been, had it not been constructed. But what else is there 
among the things we contemplate in the creation which is without being 
made? Heaven, earth, air, sea, everything whatever that is, surely is by 
being made. How, then, comes it that he considered it a peculiarity in the 
nature of the Only begotten, that it "admits generation" (for this is his 
name for making) "into its actual essence," as though the humble-bee or 
the gnat did not admit generation into itself, but into something else 



336 

besides itself. It is therefore acknowledged by his own writings, that by 
them the essence of the Only-begotten is placed on the same level with the 
smallest parts of the creation: and every proof by which he attempts to 
establish the alienation of the Son from the Father has the same force also 
in the case of individual things. What need has he, then, for this varied 
acuteness to establish the diversity of nature, when he ought to have taken 
the short cut of denial, by openly declaring that the name of the Son ought 
not to be confessed, or the Only-begotten God to be preached in the 
churches, but that we ought to esteem the Jewish worship as superior to 
the faith of Christians, and, while we confess the Father as being alone 
Creator and Maker of the world, to reduce all other things to the name and 
conception of the creation, and among these to speak of that work which 
preceded the rest as a "thing made," which came into being by some 
constructive operation, and to give Him the title of "First created," instead 
of Only-begotten and Very Son. For when these opinions have carried the 
day, it will be a very easy matter to bring doctrines to a conclusion in 
agreement with the aim they have in view, when all are guided, as you 
might expect from such a principle, to the consequence that it is 
impossible that He Who is neither begotten nor a Son, but has His 
existence through some energy, should share in essence with God. So long, 
however, as the declarations of the Gospel prevail, by which He is 
proclaimed as "Son," and "Only-begotten," and "of the Father," and "of 
God," and the like, Eunomius will talk his nonsense to no purpose, leading 
himself and his followers astray by such idle chatter. For while the title of 
"Son" speaks aloud the true relation to the Father, who is so foolish that, 
while John and Paul and the rest of the choir of the Saints proclaim these 
words, — words of truth, and words that point to the close affinity, — he 
does not look to them, but is led by the empty rattle of Eunomius' 
sophisms to think that Eunomius is a truer guide than the teaching of these 
who by the Spirit speak mysteries, and who bear Christ in themselves? 
Why, who is this Eunomius? Whence was be raised up to be the guide of 
Christians? 

But let all this pass, and let our earnestness about what lies before us calm 
down our heart, that is swollen with jealousy on behalf of the faith against 
the blasphemers. For how is it possible not to be moved to wrath and 
hatred, while our God, and Lord, and Life-giver, and Savior is insulted by 



337 

these wretched men? If he had reviled my father according to the flesh, or 
been at enmity with my benefactor, would it have been possible to bear 
without emotion his anger against those I love? And if the Lord of my 
soul, Who gave it being when it was not, and redeemed it when in bondage, 
and gave me to taste of this present life, and prepared for me the life to 
come, Who calls us to a kingdom, and gives us His commands that we may 
escape the damnation of hell, — these are small things that I speak of, and 
not worthy to express the greatness of our common Lord — He that is 
worshipped by all creation, by things in heaven, and things on earth, and 
things under the earth, by Whom stand the unnumbered myriads of the 
heavenly ministers, to Whom is turned all that is under rule here, and that 
has the desire of good — if He is exposed to reviling by men, for whom it 
is not enough to associate themselves with the party of the apostate, but 
who count it loss not to draw others by their scribbling into the same gulf 
with themselves, that those who come after may not lack a hand to lead 
them to destruction, is there any one s who blames us for our anger against 
these men? But let us return to the sequence of his discourse. 

He next proceeds once mere to slander us as dishonoring the generation of 
the Son by human similitudes, and mentions what was written on these 
points by our father, where he says that while by the word "Son" two 
things are signified, the being formed by passion, and the true relationship 
to the begetter, he does not admit in discourses upon things divine the 
former sense, which is unseemly and carnal, but in so far as the latter tends 
to testify to the glory of the Only-begotten, this alone finds a place in the 
sublime doctrines. Who, then, dishonors the generation of the Son by 
human notions? He who sets far from the Divine generation what belongs 
to passion and to man, and joins the Son impassibly to Him that begat 
Him? or he who places Him Who brought all things into being on a 
common level with the lower creation? Such an idea, however, as it seems, 
— that of associating the Son in the majesty of the Father, — this new 
wisdom seems to regard as dishonoring; while it considers as great and 
sublime the act of bringing Him down to equality with the creation that is 
in bondage with us. Empty complaints! Basil is slandered as dishonoring 
the Son, who honors Him even as he honors the Father, and Eunomius is 
the champion of the Only -begotten, who severs Him from the good nature 
of the Father! Such a reproach Paul also once incurred with the Athenians, 



338 

being charged therewith by them as "a setter forth of strange gods," when 
he was reproving the wandering among their gods of those who were mad 
in their idolatry, and was leading them to the truth, preaching the 
resurrection by the Son These charges are now brought against Paul' s 
follower by the new Stoics and Epicureans, who "spend their time in 
nothing else," as the history says of the Athenians, "but either to tell or to 
hear some new thing." For what could be found newer than this, — a Son 
of an energy, and a Father of a creature, and a new God springing up from 
nothing, and good at variance with good? These are they who profess to 
honor Him with due honor by saying that He is not that which the nature 
of Him that begat Him is. Is Eunomius not ashamed of the form of such 
honor, if one were to say that he himself is not akin in nature to his father, 
but has community with something of another kind? If he who brings the 
Lord of the creation into community with the creation declares that he 
honors Him by so doing, let him also himself be honored by having 
community assigned him with what is brute and senseless: but, if he finds 
community with an inferior nature hard and insolent treatment, how is it 
honor for Him Who, as the prophet saith, "ruleth with His power for 
ever," to be ranked with that nature which is in subjection and bondage? 
But enough of this. 



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BOOKV 



1. The fifth book promises to speak of the words contained in the saying of the 

Apostle Peter, but delays their exposition. He discourses first of the creation, to the 

effect that, while nothing therein is deserving of worship, yet men, led astray by 

their ill-informed and feeble intelligence, and marveling at its beauty, deified the 

several parts of the universe. And herein he excellently expounds the passage of 

Isaiah, "I am God, the first." 

It is now, perhaps, time to make enquiry into what is said concerning the 
words of the Apostle Peter, by Eunomius himself, and by our father 
concerning the latter. If a detailed examination should extend our discourse 
to considerable length, the fair-minded reader will no doubt pardon this, 
and will not blame us for wasting time in words, but lay the blame on him 
who has given occasion for them. Let me be allowed also to make some 
brief remarks preliminary to the proposed enquiry: it may be that they too 
will be found not to be out of keeping with the aim of our discussion. 

That no created thing is deserving of man's worship, the divine word so 
clearly declares as a law, that such a truth may be learned from almost the 
whole of the inspired Scripture. Moses, the Tables, the Law, the Prophets 
that follow, the Gospels, the decrees of the Apostles, all alike forbid the 
act of reverencing the creation. It would be a lengthy task to set out in 
order the particular passages which refer to this matter; but though we set 
out only a few from among the many instances of the inspired testimony, 
our argument is surely equally convincing, since each of the divine words, 
albeit the least, has equal force for declaration of the truth. Seeing, then, 
that our conception of existences is divided into two, the creation and the 
uncreated Nature, if the present contention of our adversaries should 
prevail, so that we should say that the Son of God is created, we should be 
absolutely compelled either to set at naught the proclamation of the 
Gospel, and to refuse to worship that God the Word Who was in the 
beginning, on the ground that we must not address worship to the creation, 
or, if these marvels recorded in the Gospels are too urgent for us, by which 
we are led to reverence and to worship Him Who is displayed in them, to 
place, in that case, the created and the Uncreated on the same level of 



340 

honor; seeing that if, according to our adversaries' opinion, even the 
created God is worshipped, though having in His nature no prerogative 
above the rest of the creation, and if this view should get the upper hand, 
the doctrines of religion will be entirely transformed to a kind of anarchy 
and democratic independence. For when men believe that the nature they 
worship is not one, but have their thoughts turned away to diverse 
Godheads, there will be none who will stay the conception of the Deity in 
its progress through creation, but the Divine element, once recognized in 
creation, will become a stepping-stone to the like conception in the case of 
that which is next contemplated, and that again for the next in order, and as 
a result of this inferential process the error will extend to all things, as the 
first deceit makes its way by contiguous cases even to the very last. 

To show that I am not making a random statement beyond what 
probability admits of, I will cite as a credible testimony in favor of my 
assertion the error which still prevails among the heathen. Seeing that they, 
with their untrained and narrow intelligence, were disposed to look with 
wonder on the beauties of nature, not employing the things they beheld as 
a leader and guide to the beauty of the Nature that transcends them, they 
rather made their intelligence halt on arriving at the objects of its 
apprehension, and marveled at each part of the creation severally — for 
this cause they did not stay their conception of the Deity at any single one 
of the things they beheld, but deemed everything they looked on in 
creation to be divine. And thus with the Egyptians, as the error developed 
its force more in respect of intellectual objects, the countless forms of 
spiritual beings were reckoned to be so many natures of Gods; while with 
the Babylonians the unerring circuit of the firmament was accounted a 
God, to whom they also gave the name of Bel. So, too, the foolishness of 
the heathen deifying individually the seven successive spheres, one bowed 
down to one, another to another, according to some individual form of 
error. For as they perceived all these circles moving in mutual relation, 
seeing that they had gone astray as to the most exalted, they maintained 
the same error by logical sequence, even to the last of them. And in 
addition to these, the ether itself, and the atmosphere diffused beneath it, 
the earth and sea and the subterranean region, and in the earth itself all 
things which are useful or needful for man's life, — of all these there was 
none which they held to be without part or lot in the Divine nature, but 



341 

they bowed down to each of them, bringing themselves, by means of some 
one of the objects conspicuous in the creation, into bondage to all the 
successive parts of the creation, in such a way that, had the act of 
reverencing the creation been from the beginning even to them a thing 
evidently unlawful, they would not have been led astray into this deceit of 
polytheism. Let us look to it, then, lest we too share the same fate, — we 
who in being taught by Scripture to reverence the true Godhead, were 
trained to consider all created existence as external to the Divine nature, 
and to worship and revere that uncreated Nature alone, Whose 
characteristic and token is that it never either begins to be or ceases to be; 
since the great Isaiah thus speaks of the Divine nature with reference to 
these doctrines, in his exalted utterance, — who speaks in the person of 
the Deity, "I am the first, and hereafter am I, and no God was before Me, 
and no God shall be after Me." For knowing more perfectly than all others 
the mystery of the religion of the Gospel, this great prophet, who foretold 
even that marvelous sign concerning the Virgin, and gave us the good 
tidings of the birth of the Child, and clearly pointed out to us that Name of 
the Son, — he, in a word, who by the Spirit includes in himself all the 
truth, — in order that the characteristic of the Divine Nature, whereby we 
discern that which really is from that which came into being, might be 
made as plain as possible to all, utters this saying in the person of God: "I 
am the first, and hereafter am I, and before Me no God hath been, and after 
Me is none." Since, then, neither is that God which was before God, nor is 
that God which is after God, (for that which is after God is the creation, 
and that which is anterior to God is nothing, and Nothing is not God; — or 
one should rather say, that which is anterior to God is God in His eternal 
blessedness, defined in contradistinction to Nothing; — since, I say, this 
inspired utterance was spoken by the mouth of the prophet, we learn by 
his means the doctrine that the Divine Nature is one, continuous with 
Itself and indiscerptible, not admitting in Itself priority and posteriority, 
though it be declared in Trinity, and with no one of the things we 
contemplate in it more ancient or more recent than another. Since, then, the 
saying is the saying of God, whether you grant that the words are the 
words of the Father or of the Son, the orthodox doctrine is equally upheld 
by either. For if it is the Father that speaks thus, He bears witness to the 
Son that He is not "after" Himself: for if the Son is God, and whatever is 
"after" the Father is not God, it is clear that the saying bears witness to 



342 

the truth that the Son is in the Father, and not after the Father. If, on the 
other hand, one were to grant that this utterance is of the Son, the phrase, 
"None hath been before Me," will be a clear intimation that He Whom we 
contemplate "in the Beginning" is apprehended together with the eternity 
of the Beginning. If, then, anything is "after" God, this is discovered, by 
the passages quoted, to be a creature, and not God: for He says, "That 
which is after Me is not God." 

2. He then explains the phrase of S. Peter, "Him God made Lord and Christ." 

And herein he sets forth the opposing statement of Eunomius, which he made on 

account of such phrase against S. Basil, and his lurking revilings and insults. 

Now that we have had presented to us this preliminary view of existences, 
it may be opportune to examine the passage before us. It is said, then, by 
Peter to the Jews, "Him God made Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye 
crucified," while on our part it is said that it is not pious to refer the word 
"made" to the Divine Nature of the Only-begotten, but that it is to be 
referred to that "form of a servant," which came into being by the 
Incarnation, in the due time of His appearing in the flesh; and, on the other 
hand, those who press the phrase the contrary way say that in the word 
"made" the Apostle indicates the pretemporal generation of the Son. We 
shall, therefore, set forth the passage in the midst, and after a detailed 
examination of both the suppositions, leave the judgment of the truth to 
our reader. Of our adversaries' view Eunomius himself may be a sufficient 
advocate, for he contends gallantly on the matter, so that in going through 
his argument word by word we shall completely follow out the reasoning 
of those who strive against us: and we ourselves will act as champion of 
the doctrine on our side as best we may, following so far as we are able the 
line of the argument previously set forth by the great Basil. But do you, 
who by your reading act as judges in the cause, "execute true judgment," as 
one of the prophets says, not awarding the victory to contentious 
preconceptions, but to the truth as it is manifested by examination. And 
now let the accuser of our doctrines come forward, and read his 
indictment, as in a court of law. 

"In addition, moreover, to what we have mentioned, by his refusal to take 
the word 'made' as referring to the essence of the Son, and withal by his 
being ashamed of the Cross, be ascribes to the Apostles what no one even 
of those who have done their best to speak ill of them on the score of 



343 

stupidity, lays to their charge; and at the same time he clearly introduces, 
by his doctrines and arguments, two Christs and two Lords; for he says 
that it was not the Word Who was in the beginning Whom God made Lord 
and Christ, but He Who 'emptied Himself to take the form of a servant,' 
and 'was crucified through weakness.' At all events the great Basil writes 
expressly as follows: — 'Nor, moreover, is it the intention of the Apostle 
to present to us that existence of the Only-begotten which was before the 
ages (which is now the subject of our argument), for he clearly speaks, not 
of the very essence of God the Word, Who was in the beginning with God, 
but of Him Who emptied Himself to take the form of a servant, and 
became conformable to the body of our humiliation, and was crucified 
through weakness.' And again, 'This is known to any one who even in a 
small degree applies his mind to the meaning of the Apostle's words, that 
he is not setting forth to us the mode of the Divine existence, but is 
introducing the terms which belong to the Incarnation; for he says, Him 
God made Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified, evidently laying 
stress by the demonstrative word on that in Him which was human and 
was seen by all.' 

"This, then, is what the man has to say who substitutes, — for we may 
not speak of it as 'application,' lest any one should blame for such 
madness men holy and chosen for the preaching of godliness, so as to 
reproach their doctrine with a fall into such extravagance, — who 
substitutes his own mind for the intention of the Apostles! With what 
confusion are they not filled, who refer their own nonsense to the memory 
of the saints! With what absurdity do they not abound, who imagine that 
the man 'emptied himself to become man, and who maintain that He Who 
by obedience 'humbled himself to take the form of a servant was made 
conformable to men even before He took that form upon Him! Who, pray, 
ye most reckless of men, when he has the form of a servant, takes the form 
of a servant? and how can any one 'empty himself to become the very 
thing which he is? You will find no contrivance to meet this, bold as you 
are in saying or thinking things uncontrivable. Are you not verily of all 
men most miserable, who suppose that a man has suffered death for all 
men, and ascribe your own redemption to him? For if it is not of the Word 
Who was in the beginning and was God that the blessed Peter speaks, but 
of him who was 'seen,' and who 'emptied Himself,' as Basil says, and if 



344 

the man who was seen 'emptied Himself to take 'the form of a servant,' 
and He Who 'emptied Himself to take 'the form of a servant,' emptied 
Himself to come into being as man, then the man who was seen emptied 
himself to come into being as man. The very nature of things is repugnant 
to this; and it is expressly contradicted by that writer who celebrates this 
dispensation in his discourse concerning the Divine Nature, when he says 
not that the man who was seen, but that the Word Who was in the 
beginning and was God took upon Him flesh, which is equivalent in other 
words to taking 'the form of a servant.' If, then, you hold that these things 
are to be believed; depart from your error, and cease to believe that the 
man 'emptied himself to become man. And if you are not able to persuade 
those who will not be persuaded, destroy their incredulity by another 
saying, a second decision against them. Remember him who says, 'Who 
being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but 
emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.' There is none among men 
who will appropriate this phrase to himself. None of the saints that ever 
lived was the Only-begotten God and became man: — for that is what it 
means to 'take the form of a servant,' 'being in the form of God.' If, then, 
the blessed Peter speaks of Him Who 'emptied Himself to 'take the form 
of a servant,' and if He Who was 'in the form of God' did 'empty 
Himself to 'take the form of a servant,' and if He Who in the beginning 
was God, being the Word and the Only-begotten God, is He Who was 'in 
the form of God,' then the blessed Peter speaks to us of Him Who was in 
the beginning and was God, and expounds to us that it was He Who 
became Lord and Christ. This, then, is the conflict which Basil wages 
against himself, and he clearly appears neither to have 'applied his own 
mind to the intention of the Apostles', nor to be able to preserve the 
sequence of his own arguments; for, according to them, he must, if he is 
conscious of their irreconcilable character, admit that the Word Who was 
in the beginning and was God became Lord; or if he tries to fit together 
statements that are mutually conflicting, and contentiously stands by 
them, he will add to them others yet more hostile, and maintain that there 
are two Christs and two Lords. For if the Word that was in the beginning 
and was God be one, and He Who 'emptied Himself and 'took the form 
of a servant' be another, and if God the Word, by Whom are all things, be 
Lord, and this Jesus, Who was crucified after all things had come into 
being, be Lord also, there are, according to his view, two Lords and 



345 

Christs. Our author, then, cannot by any argument clear himself from this 
manifest blasphemy. But if any one were to say in support of him that the 
Word Who was in the beginning is indeed the same Who became Lord, but 
that He became Lord and Christ in respect of His presence in the flesh, He 
will surely be constrained to say that the Son was not Lord before His 
presence in the flesh. At all events, even if Basil and his faithless followers 
falsely proclaim two Lords and two Christs, for us there is one Lord and 
Christ, by Whom all things were made, not becoming Lord by way of 
promotion, but existing before all creation and before all ages, the Lord 
Jesus, by Whom are all things, while all the saints with one harmonious 
voice teach us this truth and proclaim it as the most excellent of doctrines. 
Here the blessed John teaches us that God the Word, by Whom all things 
were made, has become incarnate, saying, 'And the Word was made flesh'; 
here the most admirable Paul, urging those who attend to him to humility, 
speaks of Christ Jesus, Who was in the form of God, and emptied Himself 
to take the form of a servant, and was humbled to death, even the death of 
the Cross; and again in another passage calls Him Who was crucified 'the 
Lord of Glory': 'for had they known it,' be says, 'they would not have 
crucified the Lord of Glory' . Indeed, he speaks far more openly than this 
of the very essential nature by the name of 'Lord,' where he says, 'Now 
the Lord is the Spirit' . If, then, the Word Who was in the beginning, in that 
He is Spirit, is Lord, and the Lord of glory, and if God made Him Lord and 
Christ, it was the very Spirit and God the Word that God so made, and 
not some other Lord Whom Basil dreams about." 

3. A remarkable and original reply to these utterances, and a demonstration of the 

power of the Crucified, and of the fact that this subjection was of the Human 
Nature, not that which the Only-begotten has from the father. Also an explanation 
of the figure of the Cross, and of the appellation "Christ," and an account of the 
good gifts bestowed an the Human Nature by the Godhead which was commingled 

with it. 

Well, such is his accusation. But I think it necessary in the first place to go 
briefly, by way of summary, over the points that he urges, and then to 
proceed to correct by my argument what he has said, that those who are 
judging the truth may find it easy to remember the indictment against us, 
which we have to answer, and that we may be able to dispose of each of 
the charges in regular order. He says that we are ashamed of the Cross of 
Christ, and slander the saints, and say that a man has "emptied himself to 



346 

become than, and suppose that the Lord had the "form of a servant" 
before His presence by the Incarnation, and ascribe our redemption to a 
man, and speak in our doctrine of two Christs and two Lords, or, if we do 
not do this, then we deny that the Only-begotten was Lord and Christ 
before the Passion. So that we may avoid this blasphemy, he will have us 
confess that the essence of the Son has been made, on the ground that the 
Apostle Peter by his own voice establishes such a doctrine. This is the 
substance of the accusation; for all that he has been at the trouble of saying 
by way of abuse of ourselves, I will pass by in silence, as being not at all 
to the point. It may be that this rhetorical stroke of phrases framed 
according to some artificial theory is the ordinary habit of those who play 
the rhetorician, an invention to swell the bulk of their indictment. Let our 
sophist then use his art to display his insolence, and vaunt his strength in 
reproaches against us, showing off his strokes in the intervals of the 
contest; let him call us foolish, call us of all men most reckless, of all men 
most miserable, full of confusion and absurdity, and make light of us at his 
good pleasure in any way he likes, and we will bear it; for to a reasonable 
man disgrace lies, not in hearing one who abuses him, but in making retort 
to what he says. There may even be some good in his expenditure of 
breath against us; for it may be that while he occupies his railing tongue in 
denouncing us he will at all events make some truce in his conflict against 
God. So let him take his fill of insolence as he likes: none will reply to him. 
For if a man has foul and loathsome breath, by reason of bodily disorder, 
or of some pestilential and malignant disease, he would not rouse any 
healthy person to emulate his misfortune so that one should choose, by 
himself acquiring disease, to repay, in the same evil kind, the 
unpleasantness of the man's ill odor. Such men our common nature bids us 
to pity, not to imitate. And so let us pass by everything of this kind 
which by mockery, indignation, provocation, and abuse, he has 
assiduously mixed up with his argument, and examine only his arguments 
as they concern the doctrinal points at issue. We shall begin again, then, 
from the beginning, and meet each of his charges in turn. 

The beginning of his accusation was that we are ashamed of the Cross of 
Him Who for our sakes underwent the Passion. Surely he does not intend 
to charge against us also that we preach the doctrine of dissimilarity in 
essence! Why, it is rather to those who turn aside to this opinion that the 



347 

reproach belongs of going about to make the Cross a shameful thing. For if 
by both parties alike the dispensation of the Passion is held as part of the 
faith, while we hold it necessary to honor, even as the Father is honored, 
the God Who was manifested by the Cross, and they find the Passion a 
hindrance to glorifying the Only-begotten God equally with the Father 
that begat Him, then our sophist' s charges recoil upon himself, and in the 
words with which he imagines himself to be accusing us, he is publishing 
his own doctrinal impiety. For it is clear that the reason why he sets the 
Father above the Son, and exalts Him with supreme honor, is this, — that 
in Him is not seen the shame of the Cross: and the reason why he 
asseverates that the nature of the Son varies in the sense of inferiority is 
this, — that the reproach of the Cross is referred to Him alone, and does 
not touch the Father. And let no one think that in saying this I am only 
following the general drift of his composition, for in going through all the 
blasphemy of his speech, which is there laboriously brought together, I 
found, in a passage later than that before us, this very blasphemy clearly 
expressed in undisguised language; and I propose to set forth, in the 
orderly course of my own argument, what they have written, which runs 
thus: — "If," he says," he can show that the God Who is over all, Who is 
the unapproachable Light, was incarnate, or could be incarnate, came under 
authority, obeyed commands, came under the laws of men, bore the Cross, 
then let him say that the Light is equal to the Light." Who then is it who is 
ashamed of the Cross? he who, even after the Passion, worships the Son 
equally with the Father, or he who even before the Passion insults Him, 
not only by ranking Him with the creation, but by maintaining that He is 
of passable nature, on the ground that He could not have come to 
experience His sufferings had He not had a nature capable of such 
sufferings? We on our part assert that even the body in which He 
underwent His Passion, by being mingled with the Divine Nature, was 
made by that commixture to be that which the assuming Nature is. So far 
are we from entertaining any low idea concerning the Only-begotten God, 
that if anything belonging to our lowly nature was assumed in His 
dispensation of love for man, we believe that even this was transformed to 
what is Divine and incorruptible; but Eunomius makes the suffering of the 
Cross to be a sign of divergence in essence, in the sense of inferiority, 
considering, I know not how, the surpassing act of power, by which He 
was able to perform this, to be an evidence of weakness; failing to perceive 



348 

the fact that, while nothing which moves according to its own nature is 
looked upon as surprisingly wonderful, all things that overpass the 
limitations of their own nature become especially the objects of 
admiration, and to them every ear is turned, every mind is attentive, in 
wonder at the marvel. And hence it is that all who preach the word point 
out the wonderful character of the mystery in this respect, — that "God 
was manifested in the flesh," that "the Word was made flesh," that "the 
Light shined in darkness," "the Life tasted death," and all such declarations 
which the heralds of the faith are wont to make, whereby is increased the 
marvelous character of Him Who manifested the superabundance of His 
power by means external to his own nature. But though they think fit to 
make this a subject for their insolence, though they make the dispensation 
of the Cross a reason for partitioning off the Son from equality of glory 
with the Father, we believe, as those "who from the beginning were 
eye-witnesses and ministers of the word" delivered to us by the Holy 
Scriptures, that the God who was in the beginning, "afterwards ", as 
Baruch says, "was seen upon the earth, and conversed with men," and, 
becoming a ransom for our death, loosed by His own resurrection the 
bonds of death, and by Himself made the resurrection a way for all flesh, 
and being on the same throne and in the same glory with His own Father, 
will in the day of judgment give sentence upon those who are judged, 
according to the desert of the lives they have led. These are the things 
which we believe concerning Him Who was crucified, and for this cause we 
cease not to extol Him exceedingly, according to the measure of our 
powers, that He Who by reason of His unspeakable and unapproachable 
greatness is not comprehensible by any, save by Himself and the Father 
and the Holy Spirit, He, I say, was able even to descend to community 
with our weakness. But they adduce this proof of the Son's alienation in 
nature from the Father, that the Lord was manifested by the flesh and by 
the Cross, arguing on the ground that the Father's nature remained pure in 
impassability, and could not in any way admit of a community which 
tended to passion, while the Son, by reason of the divergence of His nature 
by way of humiliation, was not incapable of being brought to experience 
the flesh and death, seeing that the change of condition was not great, but 
one which took place in a certain sense from one like state to another state 
kindred and homogeneous, because the nature of man is created, and the 
nature of the Only-begotten is created also. Who then is fairly charged 



349 

with being ashamed of the Cross? he who speaks basely of it, or he who 
contends for its more exalted aspect? I know not whether our accuser, who 
thus abases the God Who was made known upon the Cross, has heard the 
lofty speech of Paul, in what terms and at what length he discourses with 
his exalted lips concerning that Cross. For he, who was able to make 
himself known by miracles so many and so great, says, "God forbid that I 
should glory in anything else, than, in the Cross of Christ 7." And to the 
Corinthians he says that the word of the Cross is "the power of God to 
them that are in a state of salvation." To the Ephesians, moreover, he 
describes by the figure of the Cross the power that controls and holds 
together the universe, when he expresses a desire that they may be exalted 
to know the exceeding glory of ibis power, calling it height, and depth, and 
breadth, and length, speaking of the several projections we behold in the 
figure of the Cross by their proper names, so that he calls the upper part 
"height," and that which is below, on the opposite side of the junction, 
"depth," while by the name "length and breadth" he indicates the 
cross-beam projecting to either side, that hereby might be manifested this 
great mystery, that both things in heaven, and things under the earth, and 
all the furthest bounds of the things that are, are ruled and sustained by 
Him Who gave an example of this unspeakable and mighty power in the 
figure of the Cross. But I think there is no need to contend further with 
such objections, as I judge it superfluous to be anxious about urging 
arguments against calumny when even a few words suffice to show the 
truth. Let us therefore pass on to another charge. 

He says that by us the saints are slandered. Well, if be has beard it himself, 
let him tell us the words of our defamation: if he thinks we have uttered it 
to others, let him show the truth of his charge by witnesses: if he 
demonstrates it from what we have written, let him read the words, and 
we will bear the blame. But he cannot bring forward anything of the kind: 
our writings are open for examination to any one who desires it. If it was 
not said to himself, and he has not heard it from others, and has no proof 
to offer from our writings, I think he who has to make answer on this 
point may well hold his peace: silence is surely the fitting answer to an 
unfounded charge. 

The Apostle Peter says, "God made this Jesus, Whom ye crucified, Lord 
and Christ." We, learning this from him, say that the whole context of the 



350 

passage tends one way, — the Cross itself, the human name, the indicative 
turn of the phrase. For the word of the Scripture says that in regard to one 
person two things were wrought, — by the Jews, the Passion, and by 
God, honor; not as though one person had suffered and another had been 
honored by exaltation: and he further explains this yet more clearly by his 
words in what follows, "being exalted by the right hand of God." Who 
then was "exalted"? He that was lowly, or He that was the Highest? and 
what else is the lowly, but the Humanity? what else is the Highest, but the 
Divinity? Surely, God needs not to be exalted, seeing that He is the 
Highest. It follows, then, that the Apostle's meaning is that the Humanity 
was exalted: and its exaltation was effected by its becoming Lord and 
Christ. And this took place after the Passion It is not therefore the 
pre-temporal existence of the Lord which the Apostle indicates by the 
word "made," but that change of the lowly to the lofty which was effected 
"by the right hand of God." Even by this phrase is declared the mystery 
of godliness; for he who says "exalted by the right hand of God" 
manifestly reveals the unspeakable dispensation of this mystery, that the 
Right. Hand of God, that made all things that are, (which is the Lord, by 
Whom all things were made, and without Whom nothing that is subsists,) 
Itself raised to Its own height the Man united with It, making Him also to 
be what It is by nature. Now It is Lord and King: Christ is the King's 
name: these things It made Him too. For as He was highly exalted by being 
in the Highest, so too He became all else, — Immortal in the Immortal, 
Light in the Light, Incorruptible in the Incorruptible, Invisible in the 
Invisible, Christ in the Christ, Lord in the Lord. For even in physical 
combinations, when one of the combined parts exceeds the other in a great 
degree, the inferior is wont to change completely to that which is more 
potent. And this we are plainly taught by the voice of the Apostle Peter in 
his mystic discourse, that the lowly nature of Him Who was crucified 
through weakness, (and weakness, as we have heard from the Lord, marks 
the flesh,) that lowly nature, I say, by virtue of its combination with the 
infinite and boundless element of good, remained no longer in its own 
measures and properties, but was by the Right Hand of God raised up 
together with Itself, and became Lord instead of servant, Christ a King 
instead of a subject, Highest instead of Lowly, God instead of man. What 
handle then against the saints did he who pretends to give warning against 
us in defense of the Apostles find in the material of our writings? Let us 



351 

pass over this charge also in silence; for I think it a mean and unworthy 
thing to stand up against charges that are false and unfounded. Let us pass 
on to the more pressing part of his accusation. 

4. He shows the falsehood of Eunomius' calumnious charge that the great Basil 

had said that "man was emptied to become man," and demonstrates that the 

"emptying" of the Only-begotten took place with a view to the restoration to life of 

the Man Who had suffered. 

He asserts that we say that man has emptied Himself to become man, and 
that He Who by obedience humbled Himself to the form of the servant 
shared the form of men even before He took that form. No change has been 
made in the wording; we have simply transferred the very words from his 
speech to our own. Now if there is anything of this sort in our writings, 
for I call my master's writings ours) let no one blame our orator for 
calumny. I ask for all regard for the truth: and we ourselves will give 
evidence. But if there is nothing of all this in our writings, while his 
language not merely lays blame upon us, but is indignant and wrathful as if 
the waiter were clearly proved, calling us full of absurdity, nonsense, 
confusion, inconsistency, and so on, I am at a loss to see the right course 
to take. Just as men who are perplexed at the groundless rages of madmen 
can decide upon no plan to follow, so I myself can find no device to meet 
this perplexity. Our master says (for I will again recite his argument 
verbally), "He is not setting forth to us the mode of the Divine existence, 
but the terms which belong to the Incarnation." Our accuser starts from 
this point, and says that we maintain that man emptied Himself to become 
man! What community is there between one statement and the other? If 
we say that the Apostle has not set forth to us the mode of the Divine 
existence, but points by his phrase to the dispensation of the Passion, we 
are on this ground charged with speaking of the "emptying" of man to 
become man, and with saying that the "form of the servant" had 
pretemporal existence, and that the Man Who was born of Mary existed 
before the coming in the flesh! Well, I think it superfluous to spend time in 
discussing what is admitted, seeing that truth itself frees us from the 
charge. In a case, indeed, where one may have given the calumniators some 
handle against oneself, it is proper to resist accusers: but where there is no 
danger of being suspected of some absurd charge, the accusation becomes a 
proof, not of the false charge made against him who is calumniated, but of 
the madness of the accuser. As, however, in dealing with the charge of 



352 

being ashamed of the Cross, we showed by our examination that the charge 
recoiled upon the accuser, so we shall show how this charge too returns 
upon those who make it, since it is they, and not we, who lay down the 
doctrine of the change of the Son from like to like in the dispensation of 
the Passion. We will examine briefly, bringing them side by side, the 
statements of each party. We say that the Only -begotten God, having by 
His own agency brought all things into being, by Himself has full power 
over all things, while the nature of man is also one of the things that were 
made by Him: and that when this had fallen away to evil, and come to be 
in the destruction of death, He by His own agency drew it up once more 
to immortal life, by means of the Man in whom He tabernacled, taking to 
Himself humanity in completeness, and that He mingled His life-giving 
power with our mortal and perishable nature, and changed, by the 
combination with Himself, our deadness to living grace and power. And 
this we declare to be the mystery of the Lord according to the flesh, that 
He Who is immutable came to be in that which is mutable, to the end that 
altering it for the better, and changing it from the worse, He might abolish 
the evil which is mingled with our mutable condition, destroying the evil in 
Himself. For "our God is a consuming fire," by whom all the material of 
wickedness is done away. This is our statement. What does our accuser 
say? Not that He Who was immutable and uncreated was mingled with 
that which came into being by creation, and which had therefore suffered a 
change in the direction of evil; but he does say that He, being Himself 
created, came to that which was kindred and homogeneous with Himself, 
not coming from a transcendent nature to put on the lowlier nature by 
reason of His love to man, but becoming that very thing which He was. 

For as regards the general character of the appellation, the name of 
"creature" is one, as predicated of all things that have come into bring from 
nothing, while the divisions into sections of the things which we 
contemplate as included in the term "creature", are separated one from the 
other by the variation of their properties: so that if He is created, and man 
is created. He was "emptied," to use Eunomius' phrase, to become 
Himself, and changed His place, not from the transcendent to the lowly, 
but from what is similar in kind to what (save in regard of the special 
character of body and the incorporeal) is similar in dignity. To whom now 
will the just vote of those who have to try our cause be given, or who will 



353 

seem to them to be under the weight of these charges? he who says that 
the created was saved by the uncreated God, or he who refers the cause of 
our salvation to the creature? Surely the judgment of pious men is not 
doubt-rid. For any one who knows clearly the difference which there is 
between the created and the uncreated, (terms of which the divergence is 
marked by dominion and slavery, since the uncreated God, as the prophet 
says, "ruleth with His power for ever," while all things in the creation are 
servants to Him, according to the voice of the same prophet, which says 
"all things serve Thee,") he, I say, who carefully considers these matters, 
surely cannot fail to recognize the person who makes the Only-begotten 
change from servitude to servitude. For if, according to Paul, the whole 
creation "is in bondage," and if, according to Eunomius, the essential 
nature of the Only-begotten is created, our adversaries maintain, surely, by 
their doctrines, not that the master was mingled with the servant, but that 
a servant came to be among servants. As for our saying that the Lord was 
in the form of a servant before His presence in the flesh, that is just like 
charging us with saying that the stars are black and the sun misty, and the 
sky low, and water dry, and so on: — a man who does not maintain a 
charge on the ground of what he has heard, but makes up what seems good 
to him at his own sweet will, need not be sparing in making against us such 
charges as these. It is just the same thing for us to be called to account for 
the one set of charges as for the other, so far as concerns the fact that they 
have no basis for them in anything that we have said. How could one who 
says distinctly that the true Son was in the glory of the Father, insult the 
eternal glory of the Only-begotten by conceiving it to have been "in the 
form of a servant"? When our author thinks proper to speak evil of us, and 
at the same time takes care to present his case with some appearance of 
truth, it may perhaps not be superfluous or useless to rebut his unfounded 
accusations. 

5. Thereafter he shows that there are not two Christs or two Lords, but one Christ 

and one Lord, and that the Divine nature, after mingling with the Human, 

preserved the properties of each nature without confusion, and declares that the 

operations are, by reason of the union, predicated of the two natures in common, 

in the sense the Lord took upon Himself the sufferings of the servant, and the 

Humanity is glorified with Him in the honor that is the Lord's and that by the 

power of the Divine Nature That is commingled with It, the Human Nature is 

made anew, conformably with that Divine Nature Itself. 



354 

His next charge too has its own absurdity of the same sort. For he 
reproaches us with saying that there are "two Christs," and "two Lords," 
without being able to make good his charge from our words, but employing 
falsehood at discretion to suit his fancy. Since, then, he deems it within his 
power to say what he likes, why does he utter his falsehood with such 
care about detail, and maintain that we speak but of two Christs? Let him 
say, if he likes, that we preach ten Christs, or ten times ten, or extend the 
number to a thousand, that he may handle his calumny more vigorously. 
For blasphemy is equally involved in the doctrine of two Christs, and in 
that of more, and the character of the two charges is also equally devoid of 
proof. When he shows, then, that we do speak of two Christs, let him 
have a verdict against us, as much as though he had given proof of ten 
thousand. But he says that he convicts us by our own statements. Well, 
let us look once more at those words of our master by means of which he 
thinks to raise his charges against us. He says "he" (he, that is, who says 
"Him God made Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified") "is not 
setting forth to us the mode of the Divine existence, but the terms which 
belong to the Incarnation... laying stress by the demonstrative word on 
that in Him which was human and was seen by all." This is what he wrote. 
But whence has Eunomius managed by these words to bring on the stage 
his "two Christs"? Does saying that the demonstrative word lays stress 
on that which is visible, convey the proof of maintaining" two Christs"? 
Ought we (to avoid being charged with speaking of "two Highests") to 
deny the fact that by Him the Lord was highly exalted after His Passion? 
seeing that God the Word, Who was in the beginning, was Highest, and 
was also highly exalted after His Passion when He rose from the dead, as 
the Apostle says. We must of necessity choose one of two courses — 
either say that He was highly exalted after the Passion (which is just the 
same as saying that He was made Lord and Christ), and be impeached by 
Eunomius, or, if we avoid the accusation, deny the confession of the high 
exaltation of Him Who suffered. 

Now at this point it seems right to put forward once more our accuser' s 
statement in support of our own defense. We shall therefor repeat word 
for word the statement laid down by him, which supports our argument as 
follows: — "The blessed John," he says, "teaches us that God the Word, 
by Whom all things were made, has become incarnate, saying 'And the 



355 

Word was made flesh.'" Does he understand what he is writing when he 
adds this to his own argument? I can hardly myself think that the same 
man can at once be aware of the meaning of these words and contend 
against our statement. For if any one examines the words carefully, he will 
find that there is no mutual conflict between what is said by us and what 
is said by him. For we both consider the dispensation in the flesh apart, 
and regard the Divine power in itself: and he, in like manner with 
ourselves, says that the Word that was in the beginning has been 
manifested in the flesh: yet no one ever charged him, nor does he charge 
himself, with preaching "two Words", Him Who was in the beginning, and 
Him Who was made flesh; for he knows, surely, that the Word is identical 
with the Word, He who appeared in the flesh with Him Who was with 
God. But the flesh was not identical with the Godhead, till this too was 
transformed to the Godhead, so that of necessity one set of attributes 
befits God the Word, and a different set of attributes befits the "form of 
the servant." If, then, in view of such a confession, he does not reproach 
himself with the duality of Words, why are we falsely charged with 
dividing the object of oar faith into "two Christs"? — we, who say that 
He Who was highly exalted after His Passion, was made Lord and Christ 
by His union with Him Who is verily Lord and Christ, knowing by what 
we have learnt that the Divine Nature is always one and the same, and 
with the same mode of existence, while the flesh in itself is that which 
reason and sense apprehend concerning it, but when mixed with the Divine 
no longer remains in its own limitations and properties, but is taken up to 
that which is overwhelming and transcendent. Our contemplation, 
however, of the respective properties of the flesh and of the Godhead 
remains free from confusion, so long as each of these is contemplated by 
itself, as, for example, "the Word was before the ages, but the flesh came 
into being in the last times": but one could not reverse this statement, and 
say that the latter is pretemporal, or that the Word has come into being in 
the last times. The flesh is of a passable, the Word of an operative nature: 
and neither is the flesh capable of making the things that are, nor is the 
power possessed by the Godhead capable of suffering. The Word was in 
the beginning with God, the man was subject to the trial of death; and 
neither was the Human Nature from everlasting, nor the Divine Nature 
mortal: and all the rest of the attributes are contemplated in the same way. 
It is not the Human Nature that raises up Lazarus, nor is it the power that 



356 

cannot suffer that weeps for him when he lies in the grave: the tear 
proceeds from the Man, the life from the true Life. It is not the Human 
Nature that feeds the thousands, nor is it omnipotent might that hastens to 
the fig-tree. Who is it that is weary with the journey, and Who is it that by 
His word made all the world subsist? What is the brightness of the glory, 
and what is that that was pierced with the nails? What form is it that is 
buffeted in the Passion, and what form is it that is glorified from 
everlasting? So much as this is clear, (even if one does not follow the 
argument into detail,) that the blows belong to the servant in whom the 
Lord was, the honors to the Lord Whom the servant compassed about, so 
that by reason of contact and the union of Natures the proper attributes of 
each belong to both, as the Lord receives the stripes of the servant, while 
the servant is glorified with the honor of the Lord; for this is why the 
Cross is said to be the Cross of the Lord of glory, and why every tongue 
confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

But if we are to discuss the other points in the same way, let us consider 
what it is that dies, and what it is that destroys death; what it is that is 
renewed, and what it is that empties itself. The Godhead "empties" Itself 
that It may come within the capacity of the Human Nature, and the 
Human Nature is renewed by becoming Divine through its commixture 
with the Divine. For as air is not retained in water when it is dragged down 
by some weighty body and left in the depth of the water, but rises quickly 
to its kindred element, while the water is often raised up together with the 
air in its upward rush, being molded by the circle of air into a convex shape 
with a slight and membrane-like surface, so too, when the true Life that 
underlay the flesh sped up, after the Passion, to Itself, the flesh also was 
raised up with It, being forced upwards from corruption to incorruptibility 
by the Divine immortality. And as fire that lies in wood hidden below the 
surface is often unobserved by the senses of those who see, or even touch 
it, but is manifest when it blazes up, so too, at His death (which He 
brought about at His will, Who separated His soul from His Body, Who 
said to His own Father "Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit," Who, as 
He says, "had power to lay it down and had power to take it again"), He 
Who, because He is the Lord of glory, despised that which is shame among 
men, having concealed, as it were, the flame of His life in His bodily 
Nature, by the dispensation of His death, kindled and inflamed it once 



357 

more by the power of His own Godhead, fostering into life that which had 
been brought to death, having infused with the infinity of His Divine 
power that humble first-fruits of our nature, made it also to be that which 
He Himself was — making the servile form to be Lord, and the Man born 
of Mary to be Christ, and Him Who was crucified through weakness to be 
Life and power, and making all that is piously conceived to be in God the 
Word to be also in that which the Word assumed, so that these attributes 
no longer seem to be in either Nature by way of division, but that the 
perishable Nature being, by its commixture with the Divine, made anew in 
conformity with the Nature that overwhelms it, participates in the power 
of the Godhead, as if one were to say that mixture makes a drop of vinegar 
mingled in the deep to be sea, by reason that the natural quality of Ibis 
liquid does not continue in the infinity of that which overwhelms it. This 
is our doctrine, which does not, as Eunomius charges against it, preach a 
plurality of Christs, but the union of the Man with the Divinity, and 
which calls by the name of "making" the transmutation of the Mortal to 
the Immortal, of the Servant to the Lord, of Sin to Righteousness, of the 
Curse to the Blessing, of the Man to Christ. What further have our 
slanderers left to say, to show that we preach "two Christs" in our 
doctrine, if we refuse to say that He Who was in the beginning from the 
Father uncreatedly Lord, and Christ, and the Word, and God, was "made," 
and declare that the blessed Peter was pointing briefly and incidentally to 
the mystery of the Incarnation, according to the meaning now explained, 
that the Nature which was crucified through weakness has Itself also, as 
we have said, become, by the overwhelming power of Him Who dwells in 
It, that which the Indweller Himself is in fact and in name, even Christ and 
Lord? 



358 



BOOK VI 



1. The sixth book shows that He Who came for man's salvation was not a mere 

man, as Eunomius, falsely slandering him, affirmed that the great Basil had said, 

but the Only-begotten Son of God, putting an human flesh, and becoming a 

mediator between God and man, on Whom we believe, as subject to suffering in 

the flesh, but impassable in His Godhead; and demonstrates the calumny of 

Eunomius. 

But I perceive that while the necessities of the subject compelled me to 
follow this line of thought, I have lingered too long over this passage. I 
must now resume the train of his complaints, that we may pass by none 
of the charges brought against us without an answer. And first I propose 
that we should examine this point, that he charges us with asserting that an 
ordinary man has wrought the salvation of the world. For although this 
point has been to some extent already cleared up by the investigations we 
have made, we shall yet briefly deal with it once more, that the mind of 
those who are acting as our judges on this slanderous accusation may be 
entirely freed from misapprehension. So far are we from referring to an 
ordinary man the cause of this great and unspeakable grace, that even if 
any should refer so great a boon to Peter and Paul, or to an angel from 
heaven, we should say with Paul, "let him be anathema." For Paul was not 
crucified for us, nor were we baptized into a human name. Surely the 
doctrine which our adversaries oppose to the truth is not thereby 
strengthened when we confess that the saving power of Christ is more 
potent than human nature: — yet it may seem to be so, for their aim is to 
maintain at all points the difference of the essence of the Son from that of 
the Father, and they strive to show the dissimilarity of essence not only 
by the contrast of the Generated with the Ungenerate, but also by the 
opposition of the passable to the impassable. And while this is more 
openly maintained in the last part of their argument, it is also clearly 
shown in their present discourse. For if he finds fault with those who refer 
the Passion to the Human Nature, his intention is certainly to subject to 
the Passion the Godhead Itself. For our conception being twofold, and 
admitting of two developments, accordingly as the Divinity or the 
Humanity is held to have been in a condition of suffering, an attack on one 



359 

of these views is clearly a maintaining of the other. Accordingly, if they 
find fault with those who look upon the Passion as concerning the Man, 
they will clearly approve those who say that the Godhead of the Son was 
subject to passion, and the position which these last maintain becomes an 
argument in favor of their own absurd doctrine. For if, according to their 
statement, the Godhead of the Son suffers, while that of the Father is 
preserved in absolute impassability, then the impassable Nature is 
essentially different from that which admits passion. Seeing, therefore, 
that the dictum before us, though, so far as it is limited by number of 
words, it is a short one, yet affords principles and hypotheses for every 
kind of doctrinal pravity, it would seem right that our readers should 
require in our reply not so much brevity as soundness. We, then, neither 
attribute our own salvation to a man, nor admit that the incorruptible and 
Divine Nature is capable of suffering and mortality: but since we must 
assuredly believe the Divine utterances which declare to us that the Word 
that was in the beginning was God, and that afterward the Word made 
flesh was seen upon the earth and conversed with men, we admit in our 
creed those conceptions which are consonant with the Divine utterance. 
For when we hear that He is Light, and Power, and Righteousness, and 
Life, and Truth, and that by Him all things were made, we account all 
these and such-like statements as things to be believed, referring them to 
God the Word: but when we hear of pain, of slumber, of need, of trouble, 
of bonds, of nails, of the spear, of blood, of wounds, of burial, of the 
sepulcher, and all else of this kind, even if they are somewhat opposed to 
what has previously been stated, we none the less admit them to be things 
to be believed, and true, having regard to the flesh; which we receive by 
faith as conjoined with the Word. For as it is not possible to contemplate 
the peculiar attributes of the flesh as existing in the Word that was in the 
beginning, so also on the other hand we may not conceive those which are 
proper to the Godhead as existing in the nature of the flesh. As, therefore, 
the teaching of the Gospel concerning our Lord is mingled, partly of lofty 
and Divine ideas, partly of those which are lowly and human, we assign 
every particular phrase accordingly to one or other of these Natures which 
we conceive in the mystery, that which is human to the Humanity, that 
which is lofty to the Godhead, and say that, as God, the Son is certainly 
impassable and incapable of corruption: and whatever suffering is asserted 
concerning Him in the Gospel, He assuredly wrought by means of His 



360 

Human Nature which admitted of such suffering. For verily the Godhead 
works the salvation of the world by means of that body which 
encompassed It, in such wise that the suffering was of the body, but the 
operation was of God; and even if some wrest to the support of the 
opposite doctrine the words of the Apostle, "God spared not His own 
Sons,," and, "God sent His own Son," and other similar phrases which 
seem to refer, in the matter of the Passion, to the Divine Nature, and not 
to the Humanity, we shall none the less refuse to abandon sound doctrine, 
seeing that Paul himself declares to us more clearly the mystery of this 
subject. For he everywhere attributes to the Human element in Christ the 
dispensation of the Passion, when he says, "for since by man came death, 
by man came also the resurrection of the dead," and, "God, sending His 
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh" (for he 
says, "in the flesh," not "in the Godhead"); and "He was crucified through 
weakness" (where by "weakness" he means "the flesh"), "yet liveth by 
power" (while he indicates by "power" the Divine Nature); and, "He died 
unto sin" (that is, with regard to the body), "but liveth unto God" (that is, 
with regard to the Godhead, so that by these words it is established that, 
while the Man tasted death, the immortal Nature did not admit the 
suffering of death); and again; "He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew 
no sin," giving once more the name of "sin" to the flesh. 

2. Then he again mentions S. Peter's word, "made," and the passage in the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, which says that Jesus was made by God "an Apostle and High 
Priest": and, after giving a sufficient answer to the charges brought against him 

by Eunomius, shows that Eunomius himself supports Basil's arguments, and says 
that the Only-begotten Son, when He had put on the flesh, became Lord. 

And although we make these remarks in passing, the parenthetic addition 
seems, perhaps, not less important than the main question before us. For 
since, when St. Peter says, "He made Him Lord and Christ," and again, 
when the Apostle Paul says to the Hebrews that He made Him a priest, 
Eunomius catches at the word "made" as being applicable to His 
pre-temporal existence, and thinks thereby to establish his doctrine that 
the Lord is a thing made, let him now listen to Paul when he says, "He 
made Him to be sin for us, Who knew not sin." If he refers the word 
"made," which is used of the Lord in the passages from the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, and from the words of Peter, to the pretemporal idea, he might 
fairly refer the word in that passage which says that God made Him to be 



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sin, to the first existence of His essence, and try to show by this, as in the 
case of his other testimonies, that he was "made", so as to refer the word 
"made" to the essence, acting consistently with himself, and to discern sin 
in that essence. But if he shrinks from this by reason of its manifest 
absurdity, and argues that, by saying, "He made Him to be sin," the 
Apostle indicates the dispensation of the last times, let him persuade 
himself by the same train of reasoning that the word "made" refers to that 
dispensation in the other passages also. 

Let us, however, return to the point from which we digressed; for we 
might gather together from the same Scripture countless other passages, 
besides those quoted, which bear upon the matter. And let no one think 
that the divine Apostle is divided against himself in contradiction, and 
affords by his own utterances matter for their contentions on either side to 
those who dispute upon the doctrines. For careful examination would find 
that his argument is accurately directed to one aim; and he is not halting in 
his opinions: for while he everywhere proclaims the combination of the 
Human with the Divine, he none the less discerns in each its proper 
nature, in the sense that while the human weakness is changed for the 
better by its communion with the imperishable, the Divine power, on the 
other hand, is not abased by its contact with the lowly form of nature. 
When therefore he says, "He spared not His own Son," he contrasts the 
true Son with the other sons, begotten, or exalted, or adopted (those, I 
mean, who were brought into being at His command), marking the 
specialty of nature by the addition of "own." And, to the end that no one 
should connect the suffering of the Cross with the imperishable nature, he 
gives in other words a fairly distinct correction of such an error, when he 
calls Him "mediator between God and men" and "man," and "God," that, 
from the fact that both are predicated of the one Being, the fit conception 
might be entertained concerning each Nature — concerning the Divine 
Nature, impassability, concerning the Human Nature, the dispensation of 
the Passion. As his thought, then, divides that which in love to man was 
made one, but is distinguished in idea, he uses, when he is proclaiming that 
nature which transcends and surpasses all intelligence, the more exalted 
order of names, calling Him "God over all," "the great God," "the power" 
of God, and "the wisdom", of God, and the like; but when he is alluding to 
all that experience of suffering which, by reason of our weakness, was 



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necessarily assumed with our nature, he gives to the union of the Natures 
that name which is derived from ours, and calls Him Man, not by this 
word placing Him Whom he is setting forth to us on a common level with 
the rest of nature, but so that orthodoxy is protected as regards each 
Nature, in the sense that the Human Nature is glorified by His assumption 
of it, and the Divine is not polluted by Its condescension, but makes the 
Human element subject to sufferings, while working, through Its Divine 
power, the resurrection of that which suffered. And thus the experience of 
death is not referred to Him Who had communion in our passable nature 
by reason of the union with Him of the Man, while at the same time the 
exalted and Divine names descend to the Man, so that He Who was 
manifested upon the Cross is called even "the Lord of glory," since the 
majesty implied in these names is transmitted from the Divine to the 
Human by the commixture of Its Nature with that Nature which is lowly. 
For this cause he describes Him in varied and different language, at one 
time as Him Who came down from heaven, at another time as Him Who 
was born of woman, as God from eternity, and Man in the last days; thus 
too the Only-begotten God is held to be impassable, and Christ to be 
capable of suffering; nor does his discourse speak falsely in these 
opposing statements, as it adapts in its conceptions to each Nature the 
terms that belong to it. If then these are the doctrines which we have learnt 
from inspired teaching, how do we refer the cause of our salvation to an 
ordinary man? and if we declare the word "made" employed by the 
blessed Peter to have regard not to the pre-temporal existence, but to the 
new dispensation of the Incarnation, what has this to do with the charge 
against us? For this great Apostle says that that which was seen in the 
form of the servant has been made, by being assumed, to be that which He 
Who assumed it was in His own Nature. Moreover, in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews we may learn the same truth from Paul, when he says that Jesus 
was made an Apostle and High Priest by God, "being faithful to him that 
made Him so." For in that passage too, in giving the name of High Priest to 
Him Who made with His own Blood the priestly propitiation for our sins, 
he does not by the word "made" declare the first existence of the 
Only-begotten, but says "made" with the intention of representing that 
grace which is commonly spoken of in connection with the appointment 
of priests. For Jesus, the great High Priest (as Zechariah says), Who 
offered up his own lamb, that is, His own Body, for the sin of the world; 



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Who, by reason of the children that are partakers of flesh and blood, 
Himself also in like manner took part with them in blood (not in that He 
was in the beginning, being the Word and God, and being in the form of 
God, and equal with God, but in that He emptied Himself in the form of 
the servant, and offered an oblation and sacrifice for us), He, I say, became 
a High Priest many generations later, after the order of Melchisedech. 
Surely a reader who has more than a casual acquaintance with the 
discourse to the Hebrews knows the mystery of this matter. As, then, in 
that passage He is said to have been made Priest and Apostle, so here He 
is said to have been made Lord and Christ, — the latter for the 
dispensation on our behalf, the former by the change and transformation of 
the Human to the Divine (for by "making" the Apostle means "making 
anew"). Thus is manifest the knavery of our adversaries, who insolently 
wrest the words referring to the dispensation to apply them to the 
pretemporal existence. For we learn from the Apostle not to know Christ 
in the same manner now as before, as Paul thus speaks, "Yea, though we 
have known Christ after the flesh, yet now know we Him no more," in the 
sense that the one knowledge manifests to us His temporary dispensation, 
the other His eternal existence. Thus our discourse has made no 
inconsiderable answer to his charges: — that we neither hold two Christs 
nor two Lords, that we are not ashamed of the Cross, that we do not 
glorify a mere man as having suffered for the world, that we assuredly do 
not think that the word "made" refers to the formation of the essence. But, 
such being our view, our argument has no small support from our accuser 
himself, where in the midst of his discourse he employs his tongue in a 
flourishing onslaught upon us, and produces this sentence among others: 
"This, then, is the conflict that Basil wages against himself, and he clearly 
appears neither to have 'applied his own mind to the intention of the 
Apostles,' nor to be able to preserve the sequence of his own arguments; 
for according to them he must, if he is conscious of their irreconcilable 
character, admit that the Word Who was in the beginning and was God 
became Lord," or he fits together "statements that are mutually 
conflicting." Why, this is actually our statement which Eunomius repeats, 
who says that "the Word that was in the beginning and was God became 
Lord." For, being what He was, God, and Word, and Life, and Light, and 
Grace, and Truth, and Lord, and Christ, and every name exalted and 
Divine, He did become, in the Man assumed by Him, Who was none of 



364 

these, all else which the Word was and among the rest did become Lord 
and Christ, according to the teaching of Peter, and according to the 
confession of Eunomius; — not in the sense that the Godhead acquired 
anything by way of advancement, but (all exalted majesty being 
contemplated in the Divine Nature) He thus becomes Lord and Christ, not 
by arriving at any addition of grace in respect of His Godhead (for the 
Nature of the Godhead is acknowledged to be lacking in no good), but by 
bringing the Human Nature to theft participation in the Godhead which is 
signified by the terms "Christ" and "Lord." 

3. He then gives a notable explanation of the saying of the Lord to Philip, "He 

that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;" and herein he excellently discusses the 

suffering of the Lord in His love to man, and the impassability, creative power, 

and providence of the Father, and thee composite nature of men, and their 

resolution into the elements of which they were composed. 

Sufficient defense has been offered on these points, and as for that which 
Eunomius says by way of calumny against our doctrine, that "Christ was 
emptied to become Himself there has been sufficient discussion in what 
has been said above, where he has been shown to be attributing to our 
doctrine his own blasphemy. For it is not one who confesses that the 
immutable Nature has put on the created and perishable, who speaks of 
the transition from like to like, but one who conceives that there is no 
change from the majesty of Nature to that which is more lowly. For if, as 
their doctrine asserts, He is created, and man is created also, the wonder of 
the doctrine disappears, and there is nothing marvelous in what is alleged, 
since the created nature comes to be in itself. But we who have learnt from 
prophecy of "the change of the right hand of the Most High," — and by 
the "Right Hand" of the Father we understand that Power of God, which 
made all things, which is the Lord (not in the sense of depending upon 
Him as a part upon a whole, but as being indeed from Hint, and yet 
contemplated in individual existence), — say thus: that neither does the 
Right Hand vary from Him Whose Right Hand It is, in regard to the idea of 
Its Nature, nor can any other change in It be spoken of besides the 
dispensation of the Flesh. For verily the Right Hand of God was God 
Himself; manifested in the flesh, seen through that same flesh by those 
whose sight was clear; as He did the work of the Father, being, both in fact 
and in thought, the Right Hand of God, yet being changed, in respect of 
the veil of the flesh by which He was surrounded, as regarded that which 



365 

was seen, from that which He was by Nature, as a subject of 
contemplation. Therefore He says to Philip, who was gazing only at that 
which was changed, "Look through that which is changed to that which is 
unchangeable, and if thou seest this, thou hast seen that Father Himself, 
Whom thou seekest to see; for he that hath seen Me — not Him Who 
appears in a state of change, but My very self, Who am in the Father — 
will have seen that Father Himself in Whom I am, because the very same 
character of Godhead is beheld in both." If, then, we believe that the 
immortal and impossible and uncreated Nature came to be in the passable 
Nature of the creature, and conceive the "change" to consist in this, on 
what grounds are we charged with saying that He "was emptied to become 
Himself," by those who keep prating their own statements about our 
doctrines? For the participation of the created with the created is no 
"change of the Right Hand." To say that the Right Hand of the uncreated 
Nature is created belongs to Eunomius alone, and to those who adopt such 
opinions as he holds. For the man with an eye that looks on the truth will 
discern the Right Hand of the Highest to be such as he sees the Highest to 
be, — Uncreated of Uncreated, Good of Good, Eternal of Eternal without 
prejudice to Its eternity by Its being in the Father by way of generation. 
Thus our accuser has unawares been employing against us reproaches that 
properly fall upon himself. 

But with reference to those who stumble at the idea of "passion," and on 
this ground maintain the diversity of the Essences, — arguing that the 
Father, by reason of the exaltation of His Nature, does not admit passion, 
and that the Son on the other hand condescended, by reason of defect and 
divergence, to the partaking of His sufferings, — I wish to add these 
remarks to what has been already said: — That nothing is truly "passion" 
which does not tend to sin nor would one strictly call by the name of 
"passion" the necessary routine of nature, regarding the composite nature 
as it goes on its course mankind of order and sequence. For the mutual 
concurrence of heterogeneous elements in the formation of our body is a 
kind of a combination harmoniously conjoined out of several dissimilar 
elements; but when, at the due time, the tie is loosed which bound together 
this concurrence of the elements, the combined nature is once more 
dissolved into the elements of which it was composed. This then is rather 
a work than a. passion of the nature. For we give the name of "passion" 



366 

only to that which is opposed to the virtuous unimpassioned state and of 
this we believe that He Who granted us salvation was at all times devoid, 
Who "was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin." Of that, at 
least, which is truly passion, which is a diseased condition of the will, He 
was not a partaker; for it says "He did no sin, neither was guile found in 
His mouth"; but the peculiar attributes of our nature, which, by a kind of 
customary abuse of terms, are called by the same name of "passion," — of 
these, we confess, the Lord did partake, — of birth, nourishment, growth, 
of sleep and toil, and all those natural dispositions which the, soul is wont 
to experience with regard to bodily inconveniences, — the desire of that 
which is lacking, when the longing passes from the body to the soul, the 
sense of pain, the dread of death, and all the like, save only such as, if 
followed, lead to sin. As, then, when we perceive His power extending 
through all things in heaven, and air, and earth, and sea, whatever there is 
in heaven, whatever there is beneath the earth, we believe that He is 
universally present, and yet do not say that He is any of those things in 
which He is (for He is not the Heaven, Who has marked it out with His 
enfolding span, nor is He the earth, Who upholds the circle of the earth, 
nor yet is He the water, Who encompasses the liquid nature), so neither do 
we say that in passing through those sufferings of the flesh of which we 
speak He was "subject to passion," but, as we say that He is the cause of 
all things that are, that He holds the universe in His grasp, that He directs 
all that is in motion and keeps upon a settled foundation all that is 
stationary, by the unspeakable power of His own majesty, so we say that 
He was born among us for the cure of the disease of sin, adapting the 
exercise of His healing power in a manner corresponding to the suffering, 
applying the healing in that way which He knew to be for the good of that 
part of the creation which He knew to be in infirmity. And as it was 
expedient that He should heal the sufferings by touch, we say that He so 
healed it; yet is He not, because He is the Healer of our infirmity, to be 
deemed on this account to have been Himself passable. For even in the 
case of men, ordinary use does not allow us to affirm such a thing. We do 
not say that one who touches a sick man to heal him is himself partaker of 
the infirmity, but we say that he does give the sick man the boon of a 
return to health, and does not partake of the infirmity: for the suffering 
does not touch him, it is he who touches the disease. Now if he who by 
his art works any good in men's bodies is not called dull or feeble, but is 



367 

called a lover of men and a benefactor and the like, why do they slander 
the dispensation to usward as being mean and inglorious, and use it to 
maintain that the essence of the Son is "divergent by way of inferiority," 
on the ground that the Nature of the Father is superior to sufferings, while 
that of the Son is not pure from passion? Why, if the aim of the 
dispensation of the Incarnation was not that the Son should be subject to 
suffering, but that He should be manifested as a lover of men, while the 
Father also is undoubtedly a lover of men, it follows that if one will but 
regard the aim, the Son is in the same case with the Father. But if it was 
not the Father Who wrought the destruction of death, marvel not, — for 
all judgment also He hath committed unto the Son, Himself judging no 
man; not doing all things by the Son for the reason that He is unable either 
to save the lost or judge the sinner, but because He does these things too 
by His own Power, by which He works all things. Then they who were 
saved by the Son were saved by the Power of the Father, and they who 
are judged by Him undergo judgment by the Righteousness of God. For 
"Christ," as the Apostle says, "is the Righteousness of God," which is 
revealed by the Gospel; and whether you look at the world as a whole, or 
at the parts of the world which make up that complete whole, all these are 
works of the Father, in that they are works of His Power; and thus the 
word which says both that the Father made all things, and that none of 
these things that are came into being without the Son, speaks truly on both 
points; for the operation of the Power bears relation to Him Whose Power 
It is. Thus, since the Son is the Power of the Father, all the works of the 
Son are works of the Father. That He entered upon the dispensation of the 
Passion not by weakness of nature but by the power of His will, one 
might bring countless passages of the Gospel to show; but these, as the 
matter is clear, I will pretermit, that my discourse may not be prolonged 
by dwelling on points that are admitted. If, then, that which comes to pass 
is evil, we have to separate from that evil not the Father only, but the Son 
also; but if the saving of them that were lost is good, and if that which 
took place is not "passion," but love of men, why do you alienate from 
our thanksgiving for our salvation the Father, Who by His own Power, 
which is Christ, wrought for men their freedom from death? 

4. Then returning to the words of Peter," God made Him Lord and Christ," he 

skillfully explains it by many arguments, and her in shows Eumonius as an 
advocate of the orthodox doctrine, and concludes the book by showing that the 



368 

Divine and Human names are applied, by reason of the commixture, to either 

Nature. 

But we must return once more to our vehement writer of speeches, and 
take up again that severe invective of his against ourselves. He makes it a 
complaint against us that we deny that the Essence of the Son has been 
made, as contradicting the words of Peter, "He made Him Lord and Christ, 
this Jesus Whom ye crucified"; and he is very forcible in his indignation 
and abuse upon this matter, and moreover maintains certain points by 
which he thinks that he refutes our doctrine. Let us see, then, the force of 
his attempts. "Who, pray, ye most reckless of men," he says, "when he 
has the form of a servant, takes the form of a servant?" "No reasonable 
man," shall be our reply to him, "would use language of this kind, save 
such as may be entirely alien from the hope of Christians. But to this class 
you belong, who charge us with recklessness because we do not admit the 
Creator to be created. For if the Holy Spirit does not lie, when He says by 
the prophet, 'All things serve Thee,' and the whole creation is in 
servitude, and the Son is, as you say, created, He is clearly a 
fellow- servant with all things, being degraded by His partaking of creation 
to partake also of servitude. And Him Who is in servitude you will surely 
invest with the servant's form: for you will not, of course, be ashamed of 
the aspect of servitude when you acknowledge that He is a servant by 
nature. Who now is it, I pray, my most keen rhetorician, who transfers the 
Son from the servile form to another form of a servant? he who claims for 
Him uncreated I being, and thereby proves that He is no servant, or you, 
rather, who continually cry that the Son is the servant of the Father, and 
was actually under His dominion before He took the servant's form? I ask 
for no other judges; I leave the vote on these questions in your own hands. 
For I suppose that no one is so shameless in his dealings with the truth as 
to oppose acknowledged facts out of sheer impudence. What we have said 
is clear to any one, that by the peculiar attributes of servitude is marked 
that which is by nature servile, and to be created is an attribute proper to 
servitude. Thus one who asserts that He, being a servant, took upon Him 
our form, is surely the man who transfers the Only-begotten from 
servitude to servitude." 

He tries, however, to fight against our words, and says, a little further on 
(for I will pass over at present his intermediate remarks, as they have been 



369 

more or less fully discussed in my previous arguments), when he charges 
us with being "bold in saying or thinking things uncontrivable," and calls 
us "most miserable," — he adds, I say, this: — "For if it is not of the 
Word Who was in the beginning and was God that the blessed Peter 
speaks, but of Him Who was 'seen,' and Who 'emptied Himself,' as Basil 
says, and if the man Who was 'seen' 'emptied Himself to take 'the form 
of a servant,' and He Who 'emptied Himself to take the form of a 
servant,' 'emptied Himself to come into being as man, then the man who 
was 'seen' 'emptied himself,' to come into being as man." It may be that 
the judgment of my readers has immediately detected from the above 
citation the knavery, and, at the same time, the folly of the argument he 
maintains: yet a brief refutation of what he says shall be subjoined on our 
side, not so much to overthrow his blundering sophism, which indeed is 
overthrown by itself for those who have ears to hear, as to avoid the 
appearance of passing his allegation by without discussion, under the 
pretense of contempt for the worthlessness of his argument. Let us 
accordingly look at the point in this way. What are the Apostle's words? 
"Be it known," he says, "that God made Him Lord and Christ." Then, as 
though some one had asked him on whom such a grace was bestowed, he 
points as it were with his finger to the subject, saying, "this Jesus, Whom 
ye crucified." What does Basil say upon this? That the demonstrative 
word declares that that person was made Christ, Who had been crucified 
by the hearers; — for he says, "ye crucified," and it was likely that those 
who had demanded the murder that was done upon Him were hearers of 
the speech; for the time from the crucifixion to the discourse of Peter was 
not long. What, then, does Eunomius advance in answer to this? "If it is 
not of the Word Who was in the beginning and was God that the blessed 
Peter speaks, but of Him Who was 'seen,' and Who 'emptied Himself,' as 
Basil says, and if the man who was 'seen' 'emptied himself to take 'the 
form of a servant'" — Hold! who says this, that the man who was seen 
emptied himself again to take the form of a servant? or who maintains that 
the suffering of the Cross took place before the manifestation in the flesh? 
The Cross did not precede the body, nor the body "the form of the 
servant." But God is manifested in the flesh, while the flesh that displayed 
God in itself, after having by itself fulfilled the great mystery of the Death, 
is transformed by commixture to that which is exalted and Divine, 
becoming Christ and Lord, being transferred and changed to that which He 



370 

was, Who manifested Himself in that flesh. But if we should say this, our 
champion of the truth maintains once more that we say that He Who was 
shown upon the Cross "emptied Himself to become another man, putting 
his sophism together as follows in its wording: — "If," quoth he, "the man 
who was 'seen' 'emptied himself to take the 'form of a servant,' and He 
Who 'emptied Himself to take the 'form of a servant,' 'emptied Himself 
to come into being as man, then the man who was 'seen' 'emptied himself 
to come into being as man." 

How well he remembers the task before him! how much to the point is the 
conclusion of his argument! Basil declares that the Apostle said that the 
man who was "seen" was made Christ and Lord, and this clear and 
quick-witted over-turner of his statements says, "If Peter does not say 
that the essence of Him Who was in the beginning was made, the man who 
was 'seen' 'emptied himself to take the 'form of a servant,' and He Who 
'emptied Himself to take the 'form of a servant, emptied Himself to 
become man." We are conquered, Eunomius, by this invincible wisdom! 
The fact that the Apostle's discourse refers to Him Who was "crucified 
through weakness" is forsooth powerfully disproved when we learn that if 
we believe this to be so, the man who was "seen" again becomes another, 
"emptying Himself for another coming into being of man. Will you never 
cease jesting against what should be secure from such attempts? will you 
not blush at destroying by such ridiculous sophisms the awe that hedges 
the Divine mysteries? will you not turn now, if never before, to know that 
the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, being Word, 
and King, and Lord, and all that is exalted in word and thought, needs not 
to become anything that is good, seeing that He is Himself the fullness of 
all good things? What then is that, by changing into which He becomes 
what He was not before? Well, as He Who knew not sin becomes sin, that 
He may take away the sin of the world, so on the other hand the flesh 
which received the Lord becomes Christ and Lord, being transformed by 
the commixture into that which it was not by nature: whereby We learn 
that neither would God have been manifested in the flesh, had not the 
Word been made flesh, nor would the human flesh that compassed Him 
about have been transformed to what is Divine, had not that which was 
apparent to the senses become Christ and Lord. But they treat the 
simplicity of what we preach with contempt, who use their syllogisms to 



371 

trample on the being of God, and desire to show that He Who by creation 
brought into being all things that are, is Himself a part of creation, and 
wrest, to assist them in such an effort to establish their blasphemy, the 
words of Peter, who said to the Jews, "Be it known to all the house of 
Israel that God made Him Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified." 
This is the proof they present for the statement that the essence of the 
Only -begotten God is created! What? tell me, were the Jews, to whom the 
words were spoken, in existence before the ages? was the Cross before the 
world? was Pilate before all creation? was Jesus in existence first, and after 
that the Word? was the flesh more ancient than the Godhead? did Gabriel 
bring glad tidings to Mary before the world was? did not the Man that was 
in Christ take beginning by way of birth in the days of Csar Augustus, 
while the Word that was God in the beginning is our King, as the prophet 
testifies, before all ages? See you not what confusion you bring upon the 
matter, turning, as the phrase goes, things upside down? It was the fiftieth 
day after the Passion, when Peter preached his sermon to the Jews and 
said, "Him Whom ye crucified, God made Christ and Lord." Do you not 
mark the order of his saying? which stands first, which second in his 
words? He did not say, "Him Whom God made Lord, ye crucified," but, 
"Whom ye crucified, Him God made Christ and Lord": so that it is clear 
from this that Peter is speaking, not of what was before the ages, but of 
what was after the dispensation. 

How comes it, then, that you fail to see that the whole conception of your 
argument on the subject is being overthrown, and go on making yourself 
ridiculous with your childish web of sophistry, saying that, if we believe 
that He who was apparent to the senses has been made by God to be 
Christ and Lord, it necessarily follows that the Lord once more "emptied 
Himself anew to become Man, and underwent a second birth? What 
advantage does your doctrine get from this? How does what you say show 
the King of creation to be created? For my own part I assert on the other 
side that our view is supported by those who contend against us, and that 
the rhetorician, in his exceeding attention to the matter, has failed to see 
that in pushing, as he supposed, the argument to an absurdity, he is 
fighting on the side of those whom he attacks, with the very weapons he 
uses for their overthrow. For if we are to believe that the change of 
condition in the case of Jesus was from a lofty state to a lowly one, and if 



372 

the Divine and uncreated Nature alone transcends the creation, he will, 
perhaps, when he thoroughly surveys his own argument, come over to the 
ranks of truth, and agree that the Uncreated came to be in the created, in 
His love for man. But if he imagines that he demonstrates the created 
character of the Lord by showing that He, being God, took part in human 
nature, he will find many such passages to establish the same opinion 
which carry out their support of his argument in a similar way. For since 
He was the Word and was God, and "afterwards," as the prophet says, 
"was seen upon earth and conversed with men," He will hereby be proved 
to be one of the creatures! And if this is held to be beside the question, 
similar passages too are not quite akin to the subject. For in sense it is just 
the same to say that the Word that was in the beginning was manifested to 
men through the flesh, and to say that being in the form of God He put on 
the form of a servant: and if one of these statements gives no help for the 
establishment of his blasphemy, he must needs give up the remaining one 
also. He is kind enough, however, to advise us to abandon our error, and to 
point out the truth which He himself maintains. He tells us that the 
Apostle Peter declares Him to have been made Who was in the beginning 
the Word and God. Well, if he were making up dreams for our amusement, 
and giving us information about the prophetic interpretation of the visions 
of sleep, there might be no risk in allowing him to set forth the riddles of 
his imagination at his pleasure. But when he tells us that he is explaining 
the Divine utterances, it is no longer safe for us to leave him to interpret 
the words as he likes. What does the Scripture say? "God made Lord and 
Christ this Jesus whom ye crucified." When everything, then, is found to 
concur — the demonstrative word denoting Him Who is spoken of by the 
Name of His Humanity, the charge against those who were stained with 
blood-guiltiness, the suffering of the Cross-our thought necessarily turns 
to that which was apparent to the senses. But he asserts that while Peter 
uses these words it is the pretemporal existence that is indicated by the 
word "made". Well, we may safely allow nurses and old wives to jest with 
children, and to lay down the meaning of dreams as they choose: but when 
inspired Scripture is set before us for exposition, the great Apostle forbids 
us to have recourse to old wives' tattle. When I hear "the Cross" spoken 
of, I understand the Cross, and when I hear mention of a human name, I 
understand the nature which that name connotes. So when I hear from 
Peter that "this" one was made Lord and Christ, I do not doubt that he 



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speaks of Him Who had been before the eyes of men, since the saints agree 
with one another in this matter as well as in others. For, as he says that He 
Who was crucified has been made Lord, so Paul also says that He was 
"highly exalted," after the Passion and the Resurrection, not being exalted 
in so far forth as He is God. For what height is there more sublime than 
the Divine height, that he should say God was exalted thereunto? But he 
means that the lowliness of the Humanity was exalted, the word, I 
suppose, indicating the assimilation and union of the Man Who was 
assumed to the exalted state of the Divine Nature. And even if one were to 
allow him license to misinterpret the Divine utterance, not even so will his 
argument conclude in accordance with the aim of his heresy. For be it 
granted that Peter does say of Him Who was in the beginning, "God made 
Him Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified," we shall find that 
even so his blasphemy does not gain any strength against the truth. "God 
made Him," he says, "Lord and Christ." To which of the words are we to 
refer the word made? with which of those that are employed in this 
sentence are we to connect the word? There are three before us: — " this," 
and "Lord," and "Christ." With which of these three will he construct the 
word "made"? No one is so bold against the truth as to deny that "made 
"has reference to "Christ" and "Lord"; for Peter says that He, being 
already whatever He was, was "made Christ and Lord" by the Father. 

These words are not mine: they are those of him who fights against the 
Word. For he says, in the very passage that is before us for examination, 
exactly thus: — " The blessed Peter speaks of Him Who was in the 
beginning and was God, and expounds to us that it was He Who became 
Lord and Christ." Eunomius, then, says that He Who was whatsoever He 
was became Lord and Christ, as the history of David tells us that he, being 
the son of Jesse, and a keeper of the flocks, was anointed to be king: not 
that the anointing then made him to be a man, but that he, being what he 
was by his own nature, was transformed from an ordinary man to a king. 
What follows? Is it thereby the more established that the essence of the 
Son was made, if, as Eunomius says, God made Him, when He was in the 
beginning and was God, both Lord and Christ? For Lordship is not a name 
of His being but of His being in authority, and the appellation of Christ 
indicates His kingdom, while the idea of His kingdom is one, and that of 
His Nature another. Suppose that Scripture does say that these things 



374 

took place with regard to the Son of God. Let us then consider which is 
the more pious and the more rational view. Which can we allowably say is 
made partaker of superiority by way of advancement — God or man? 
Who has so childish a mind as to suppose that the Divinity passes on to 
perfection by way of addition? But as to the Human Nature, such a 
supposition is not unreasonable, seeing that the words of the Gospel 
clearly ascribe to our Lord increase in respect of His Humanity: for it 
says, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and favor." Which, then, is 
the more reasonable suggestion to derive from the Apostle's words? — 
that He Who was God in the beginning became Lord by way of 
advancement, or that the lowliness of the Human Nature was raised to the 
height of majesty as a result of its communion with the Divine? For the 
prophet David also, speaking in the person of the Lord, says, "I am 
established as king by Him," with a meaning very close to "I was made 
Christ:" and again, in the person of the Father to the Lord, he says, "Be 
Thou Lord in the midst of Thine enemies," with the same meaning as 
Peter, "Be Thou made Lord of Thine enemies." As, then, the 
establishment of His kingdom does not signify the formation of His 
essence, but the advance to His dignity, and He Who bids Him "be Lord" 
does not command that which is non-existent to come into being at that 
particular time, but gives to Him Who is the rule over those who are 
disobedient, — so also the blessed Peter, when he says that one has been 
made Christ (that is, king of all) adds the word "Him" to distinguish the 
idea both from the essence and from the attributes contemplated in 
connection with it. For He made Him what has been declared when He 
already was that which He is. Now if it were allowable to assert of the 
transcendent Nature that it became anything by way of advancement, as a 
king from being an ordinary man, or lofty from being lowly, or Lord from 
being servant, it might be proper to apply Peter' s words to the 
Only -begotten. But since the Divine Nature, whatever it is believed to be, 
always remains the same, being above all augmentation and incapable of 
diminution, we are absolutely compelled to refer his saying to the 
Humanity. For God the Word is now, and always remains, that which He 
was in the beginning, always King, always Lord, always God and Most 
High, not having become any of these things by way of advancement, but 
being in virtue of His Nature all that He is declared to be, while on the 
other hand He Who was, by being assumed, elevated from Man to the 



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Divinity, being one thing and becoming another, is strictly and truly said 
to have become Christ and Lord. For He made Him to be Lord from being 
a servant, to be King from being a subject, to be Christ from being in 
subordination. He highly exalted that which was lowly, and gave to Him 
that had the Human Name that Name which is above every name. And 
thus came to pass that unspeakable mixture and conjunction of human 
littleness commingled with Divine greatness, whereby even those names 
which are great and Divine are properly applied to the Humanity, while on 
the other hand the Godhead is spoken of by human names. For it is the 
same Person who both has the Name which is above every name, and is 
worshipped by all creation in the human Name of Jesus. For he says, "at 
the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in 
earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus 
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." But enough of these matters. 



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BOOK VII 



1. The seventh book shows from various statements made to the Corinthians and 

to the Hebrews, and from the words of the Lord, that the word "Lord" is not 

expressive of essence, according to Eunomius' exposition, but of dignity. And 

after many notable remarks concerning '"the Spirit and the Lord, he shows that 

Eunomius, from his own words, is found to argue in favor of orthodoxy, though 

without intending it, and to be struck by his own shafts. 

Since, however, Eunomius asserts that the word "Lord" is used in 
reference to the essence and not to the dignity of the Only-begotten, and 
cites as a witness to this view the Apostle, when he says to the 
Corinthians, "Now the Lord is the Spirit," it may perhaps be opportune 
that we should not pass over even this error on his part without 
correction. He asserts that the word "Lord" is significative of essence, and 
by way of proof of this assumption he brings up the passage above 
mentioned. "The Lord," it says, "is the Spirit." But our friend who 
interprets Scripture at his own sweet will calls "Lordship" by the name of 
"essence" and thinks to bring his statement to proof by means of the 
words quoted. Well, if it had been said by Paul, "Now the Lord is 
essence," we too would have concurred in his argument. But seeing that 
the inspired writing on the one side says, "the Lord is the Spirit," and 
Eunomius says on the other, "Lordship is essence," I do not know where 
he finds support for his statement, unless he is prepared to say again that 
the word "Spirit" stands in Scripture for "essence." Let us consider, then, 
whether the Apostle anywhere, in his use of the term "Spirit," employs 
that word to indicate "essence." He says, "The Spirit itself beareth 
witness with our Spirit," and "no one knoweth the things of a man save 
the Spirit of man which is in him," and "the letter killeth, but the Spirit 
giveth life," and "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, 
ye shall live," and "if we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit." 
Who indeed could count the utterances of the Apostle on this point? and 
in them we nowhere find "essence" signified by this word. For he who 
says that "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit," signifies 
nothing else than the Holy Spirit Which comes to be in the mind of the 
faithful; for in many other passages of his writings he gives the name of 
spirit to the mind, on the reception by which of the communion of the 



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Spirit the recipients attain the dignity of adoption. Again, in the passage, 
"No one knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in 
him," if "man" is used of the essence, and "spirit" likewise, it will follow 
from the phrase that the man is maintained to be of two essences. Again, I 
know not how he who says that "the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth 
life," sets "essence" in opposition to "letter"; nor, again, how this writer 
imagines that when Paul says that we ought "through the Spirit" to 
destroy "the deeds of the body," he is directing the signification of "spirit" 
to express "essence"; while as for "living in the Spirit," and "walking in 
the Spirit," this would be quite unintelligible if the sense of the word 
"Spirit" referred to "essence." For in what else than in essence do all we 
who are alive partake of life? — thus when the Apostle is laying down 
advice for us on this matter that we should "live in essence," it is as 
though he said "partake of life by means of yourselves, and not by means 
of others." If then it is not possible that this sense can be adopted in any 
passage, how can Eunomius here once more imitate the interpreters of 
dreams, and bid us to take "spirit." for "essence," to the end that he may 
arrive in due syllogistic form at his conclusion that the word "Lord" is 
applied to the essence? — for if "spirit" is "essence" (he argues), and "the 
Lord is Spirit," the "Lord" is clearly found to be "essence." How 
incontestable is the force of this attempt! How can we evade or resolve 
this irrefragable necessity of demonstration? The word "Lord," he says, is 
spoken of the essence. How does he maintain it? Because the Apostle 
says, "The Lord is the Spirit." Well, what has this to do with essence? He 
gives us the further instruction that "spirit" is put for "essence. These are 
the arts of his demonstrative method! These are the results of his 
Aristotelian science! This is why, in your view, we are so much to be 
pitied, who are uninitiated in this wisdom! and you of course are to be 
deemed happy, who track out the truth by a method like this — that the 
Apostle's meaning was such that we are to suppose "the Spirit" was put 
by him for the Essence of the Only -begotten! 

Then how will you make it fit with what follows? For when Paul says, 
"Now the Lord is the Spirit," he goes on to say, "and where the Spirit of 
the Lord is, there is liberty." If then "the Lord is the Spirit," and "Spirit" 
means "essence," what are we to understand by "the essence of the 
essence"? He speaks again of another Spirit of the Lord Who is the Spirit, 



378 

— that is to say, according to your interpretation, of another essence. 
Therefore in your view the Apostle, when he writes expressly of "the 
Lord the Spirit," and of "the Spirit of the Lord," means nothing else than 
an essence of an essence. Well, let Eunomius make what he likes of that 
which is written; what we understand of the matter is as follows. The 
Scripture, "given by inspiration of God," as the Apostle calls it, is the 
Scripture of the Holy Spirit, and its intention is the profit of men. For 
"every scripture," he says, "is given by inspiration of God and is 
profitable"; and the profit is varied and multiform, as the Apostle says — 
" for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 
Such a boon as this, however, is not within any man's reach to lay hold of, 
but the Divine intention lies hid under the body of the Scripture, as it were 
under a veil, some legislative enactment or some historical narrative being 
cast over the truths that are contemplated by the mind. For this reason, 
then, the Apostle tells us that those who look upon the body of the 
Scripture have "a veil upon their heart," and are not able to look upon the 
glory of the spiritual law, being hindered by the veil that has been cast 
over the face of the law-giver. Wherefore he says, "the letter killeth, but 
the Spirit giveth life," showing that often the obvious interpretation, if it 
be not taken according to the proper sense, has an effect contrary to that 
life which is indicated by the Spirit, seeing that this lays down for all men 
the perfection of virtue in freedom from passion, while the history 
contained in the writings sometimes embraces the exposition even of facts 
incongruous, and is understood, so to say, to concur with the passions of 
our nature, whereto if any one applies himself according to the obvious 
sense, he will make the Scripture a doctrine of death. Accordingly, he says 
that over the perceptive powers of the souls of men who handle what is 
written in too corporeal a manner, the veil is cast; but for those who turn 
their contemplation to that which is the object of the intelligence, there is 
revealed, bared, as it were, of a mask, the glory that underlies the letter. 
And that which is discovered by this more exalted perception he says is 
the Lord, which is the Spirit. For he says, "when it shall turn to the Lord 
the veil shall be taken away: now the Lord is the Spirit." And in so saying 
he makes a distinction of contrast between the lordship of the spirit and 
the bondage of the letter; for as that which gives life is opposed to that 
which kills, so he contrasts "the Lord" with bondage. And that we may 
not be under any confusion when we are instructed concerning the Holy 



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Spirit (being led by the word "Lord" to the thought of the Only-begotten), 
for this reason he guards the word by repetition, both saying that "the 
Lord is the Spirit," and making further mention of "the Spirit of the Lord," 
that the supremacy of His Nature may be shown by the honor implied in 
lordship, while at the same time he may avoid confusing in his argument 
the individuality of His Person. For he who calls Him both "Lord" and 
"Spirit of the Lord," teaches us to conceive of Him as a separate individual 
besides the Only-begotten; just as elsewhere he speaks of "the Spirit of 
Christ," employing fairly and in its mystic sense this very term which is 
piously employed in the system of doctrine according to the Gospel 
tradition. Thus we, the "most miserable of all men," being led onward by 
the Apostle in the mysteries, pass from the letter that killeth to the Spirit 
that giveth life, learning from Him Who was in Paradise initiated into the 
unspeakable mysteries, that all things the Divine Scripture says are 
utterances of the Holy Spirit. For "well did the Holy Spirit prophesy," — 
this he says to the Jews in Rome, introducing the words of Isaiah; and to 
the Hebrews, alleging the authority of the Holy Spirit in the words, 
"wherefore as saith the Holy Spirit," he adduces the words of the Psalm 
which are spoken at length in the person of God; and from the Lord 
Himself we learn the same thing, — that David declared the heavenly 
mysteries not "in" himself (that is, not speaking according to human 
nature). For how could any one, being but man, know the supercelestial 
converse of the Father with the Son? But being "in the Spirit" he said that 
the Lord spoke to the Lord those words which He has uttered. For if, He 
says, "David in the Spirit calls him Lord, how is He then his son?" Thus it 
is by the power of the Spirit that the holy men who are under Divine 
influence are inspired, and every Scripture is for this reason said to be 
"given by inspiration of God," because it is the teaching of the Divine 
afflatus. If the bodily veil of the words were removed, that which remains 
is Lord and life and Spirit, according to the teaching of the great Paul, and 
according to the words of the Gospel also. For Paul declares that he who 
turns from the letter to the Spirit no longer apprehends the bondage that 
slays, but the Lord which is the life-giving Spirit; and the sublime Gospel 
says, "the words that I speak are spirit and are life," as being divested of 
the bodily veil. The idea, however, that "the Spirit" is the essence of the 
Only-begotten, we shall leave to our dreamers: or rather, we shall make 
use, ex abundanti, of what they say, and arm the truth with the weapons 



380 

of the adversary. For it is allowable that the Egyptian should be spoiled 
by the Israelites, and that we should make their wealth an ornament for 
ourselves. If the essence of the Son is called "Spirit," and God also is 
Spirit, (for so the Gospel tells us), clearly the essence of the Father is 
called "Spirit" also. But if it is their peculiar argument that things which 
are introduced by different names are different also in nature, the 
conclusion surely is, that things which are named alike are not alien one 
from the other in nature either. Since then, according to their account, the 
essence of the Father and that of the Son are both called "Spirit," hereby is 
clearly proved the absence of any difference in essence. For a little further 
on Eunomius says: — "Of those essences which are divergent the 
appellations significant of essence are also surely divergent, but where 
there is one and the same name, that which is declared by the same 
appellation will surely be one also": — so that at all points "He that 
taketh the wise in their own craftiness" has turned the long labors of our 
author, and the infinite toil spent on what he has elaborated, to the 
establishment of the doctrine which we maintain. For if God is in the 
Gospel called "Spirit," and the essence of the Only-begotten is maintained 
by Eunomius to be "Spirit," as there is no apparent difference in the one 
name as compared with the other, neither, surely, will the things signified 
by the names be mutually different in nature. 

And now that I have exposed this futile and pointless sham- argument, it 
seems to me that I may well pass by without discussion what he next puts 
together by way of attack upon our master' s statement. For a sufficient 
proof of the folly of his remarks is to be found in his actual argument, 
which of itself proclaims aloud its feebleness. To be entangled in a contest 
with such things as this is like trampling on the slain. For when he sets 
forth with much confidence some passage from our master, and treats it 
with preliminary slander and contempt, and promises that he will show it 
to be worth nothing at all, he meets with the same fortune as befalls small 
children, to whom their imperfect and immature intelligence, and the 
untrained condition of their perceptive faculties, do not give an accurate 
understanding of what they see. Thus they often imagine that the stars are 
but a little way above their heads, and pelt them with clods when they 
appear, in their childish folly; and then, when the clod falls, they clap their 
hands and laugh and brag to their comrades as if their throw had reached 



381 

the stars themselves. Such is the man who casts at the truth with his 
childish missile, who sets forth Dike the stars those splendid sayings of 
our master, and then hurls from the ground, — from his downtrodden and 
groveling understanding, — his earthy and unstable arguments. And these, 
when they have gone so high that they have no place to fall from, turn 
back again of themselves by their own weight. Now the passage of the 
great Basil is worded as follows: — 

"Yet what sane man would agree with the statement that of those things of 
which the names are different the essences must needs be divergent also? 
For the appellations of Peter and Paul, and, generally speaking, of men, are 
different, while the essence of all is one: wherefore, in most respects we 
are mutually identical, and differ one from another only in those special 
properties which are observed in individuals: and hence also appellations 
are not indicative of essence, but of the properties which mark the 
particular individual. Thus, when we hear of Peter, we do not by the name 
understand the essence (and by 'essence' I here mean the material 
substratum), but we are impressed with the conception of the properties 
which we contemplate in him." These are the great man's words. And 
what skill he who disputes this statement displays against us, we learn, — 
any one, that is, who has leisure for wasting time on unprofitable matters, 
— from the actual composition of Eunomius. 

From his writings, I say, for I do not like to insert in my own work the 
nauseous stuff our rhetorician utters, or to display his ignorance and folly 
to contempt in the midst of my own arguments. He goes on with a sort of 
eulogy upon the class of significant words which express the subject, and, 
in his accustomed style, patches and sticks together the cast-off rags of 
phrases: poor Isocrates is nibbled at once more, and shorn of words and 
figures to make out the point proposed, — here and there even the 
Hebrew Philo receives the same treatment, and makes him a contribution 
of phrases from his own labors, — yet not even thus is this much-stitched 
and many-colored web of words finished off, but every assault, every 
defense of his conceptions, all his artistic preparation, spontaneously 
collapses, and, as commonly happens with the bubbles when the drops, 
borne down from above through a body of waters against some obstacle, 
produce those foamy swellings which, as soon as they gather, immediately 
dissolve, and leave upon the water no trace of their own formation — such 



382 

are the air-bubbles of our author's thoughts, vanishing without a touch at 
the moment they are put forth. For after all these irrefragable statements, 
and the dreamy philosophizing wherein he asserts that the distinct 
character of the essence is apprehended by the divergence of names, as 
some mass of foam borne downstream breaks up when it comes into 
contact with any more solid body, so his argument, following its own 
spontaneous course, and coming unexpectedly into collision with the 
truth, disperses into nothingness its unsubstantial and bubble-like fabric of 
falsehood. For he speaks in these words: — "Who is so foolish and so far 
removed from the constitution of men, as, in discoursing of men to speak 
of one as a man, and, calling another a horse, so to compare them?" I 
would answer him, — "You are right in calling any one foolish who makes 
such blunders in the use of names. And I will employ for the support of 
the truth the testimony you yourself give. For if it is a piece of extreme 
folly to call one a horse and another a man, supposing both were really 
men, it is surely a piece of equal stupidity, when the Father is confessed 
to be God, and the Son is confessed to be God, to call the one 'created and 
the other 'uncreated,' since, as in the other case humanity, so in this case 
the Godhead does not admit a change of name to that expressive of another 
kind. For what the irrational is with respect to man, that also the creature 
is with respect to the Godhead, being equally unable to receive the same 
name with the nature that is superior to it. And as it is not possible to 
apply the same definition to the rational animal and the quadruped alike 
(for each is naturally differentiated by its special property from the other), 
so neither can you express by the same terms the created and the 
uncreated essence, seeing that those attributes which are predicated of the 
latter essence are not discoverable in the former. For as rationality is not 
discoverable in a horse, nor solidity of hoofs in a man, so neither is 
Godhead discoverable in the creature, nor the attribute of being created in 
the Godhead: but if He be God He is certainly not created, and if He be 
created He is not God; unless, of course, one were to apply by some 
misuse or customary mode of expression the mere name of Godhead, as 
some horses have men's names given them by their owners; yet neither is 
the horse a man, though he be called by a human name, nor is the created 
being God, even though some claim for him the name of Godhead, and give 
him the benefit of the empty sound of a dissyllable." Since, then, 
Eunomius' heretical statement is found spontaneously to fall in with the 



383 

truth, let him take his own advice and stand by his own words, and by no 
means retract his own utterances, but consider that the man is really 
foolish and stupid who names the subject not according as it is, but says 
"horse" for "man." and "sea" for "sky," and "creature" for "God." And let 
no one think it unreasonable that the creature should be set in opposition 
to God, but have regard to the prophets and to the Apostles. For the 
prophet says in the person of the Father, "My Hand made all these 
things", meaning by "Hand," in his dark saying, the power of the 
Only-begotten. Now the Apostle says that all things are of the Father, and 
that all things are by the Son, and the prophetic spirit in a way agrees with 
the Apostolic teaching, which itself also is given through the Spirit. For in 
the one passage, the prophet, when he says that all things are the work of 
the Hand of Him Who is over all, sets forth the nature of those things 
which have come into being in its relation to Him Who made them, while 
He Who made them is God over all, Who has the Hand, and by It makes 
all things. And again, in the other passage, the Apostle makes the same 
division of entities, making all things depend upon their productive cause, 
yet not reckoning in the number of "all things" that which produces them: 
so that we are hereby taught the difference of nature between the created 
and the uncreated, and it is shown that, in its own nature, that which 
makes is one thing and that which is produced is another. Since, then, all 
things are of God, and the Son is God, the creation is properly opposed to 
the Godhead; while, since the Only-begotten is something else than the 
nature of the universe (seeing that not even those who fight against the 
truth contradict this), it follows of necessity that the Son also is equally 
opposed to the creation, unless the words of the saints are untrue which 
testify that by Him all things were made. 

2. He then declares that the close relation between names and things is immutable, 

and thereafter proceeds accordingly, in the most excellent manner, with his 

discourse concerning "generated" and "ungenerate." 

Now seeing that the Only-begotten is in the Divine Scriptures proclaimed 
to be God, let Eunomius consider his own argument, and condemn for 
utter folly the man who parts the Divine into created and uncreated, as he 
does him who divides "man" into "horse" and "man." For he himself says, 
a little further on, after his intermediate nonsense, "the close, relation of 
names to things is immutable," where he himself by this statement assents 



384 

to the fixed character of the true connection of appellations with their 
subject. If, then, the name of Godhead is properly employed in close 
connection with the Only-begotten God (and Eunomius, though he may 
desire to be out of harmony with us, will surely concede that the Scripture 
does not lie, and that the name of the Godhead is not inharmoniously 
attributed to the Only -begotten), let him persuade himself by his own 
reasoning that if "the close relation of names to things is immutable," and 
the Lord is called by the name of "God," he cannot apprehend any 
difference in respect of the conception of Godhead between the Father and 
the Son, seeing that this name is common to both, — or rather not this 
name only, but there is a long list of names in which the Son shares, 
without divergence of meaning, the appellations of the Father, — "good," 
"incorruptible," "just," "judge," "long-suffering," "merciful," "eternal," 
"everlasting," all that indicate the expression of majesty of nature and 
power, — without any reservation being made in His case in any of the 
names in regard of the exalted nature of the conception. But Eunomius 
passes by, as it were with closed eye, the number, great as it is, of the 
Divine appellations, and looks only to one point, his "generate and 
ungenerate," — trusting to a slight and weak cord his doctrine, tossed and 
driven as it is by the blasts of error. 

He asserts that "no man who has any regard for the truth either calls any 
generated thing 'ungenerate,' or calls God Who is over all 'Son' or 
'generate.'" This statement needs no further arguments on our part for its 
refutation. For he does not shelter his craft with any veils, as his wont is, 
but treats the inversion of his absurd statement as equivalent, while he 
says that neither is any generated thing spoken of as "ungenerate," nor is 
God Who is over all called "Son" or "generate," without making any 
special distinction for the Only-begotten Godhead of the Son as compared 
with the rest of the "generated," but makes his opposition of "all things 
that have come into being" to "God" without discrimination, not excepting 
the Son from "all things." And in the inversion of his absurdities he clearly 
separates, forsooth, the Son from the Divine Nature, when he says that 
neither is any generated thing spoken of as "ungenerate," nor is God called 
"Son" or "generate," and manifestly reveals by this contradistinction the 
horrid character of his blasphemy. For when he has distinguished the 
"things that have come into being" from the "ungenerate," he goes on to 



385 

say, in that antistrophal induction of his, that it is impossible to call (not 
the "unbegotten," but) "God," "Son" or "generate," trying by these words 
to show that which is not ungenerate is not God, and that the 
Only-begotten God is, by the fact of being begotten, as far removed from 
being God as the ungenerate is from being generated in fact or in name. For 
it is not in ignorance of the consequence of his argument that he makes an 
inversion of the terms employed thus inharmonious and incongruous: it is 
in his assault on the doctrine of orthodoxy that he opposes "the Godhead" 
to "the generate" — and this is the point he tries to establish by his 
words, that which is not ungenerate is not God. What was the true 
sequence of his argument? that having said "no generated thing is 
ungenerate," he should proceed with the inference, "nor, if anything is 
naturally ungenerate, can it be generate." Such a statement at once contains 
truth and avoids blasphemy. But now by his premise that no generated 
thing is ungenerate, and his inference that God is not generated, he clearly 
shuts out the Only-begotten God from being God, laying down that 
because He is not ungenerate, neither is He God. Do we then need any 
further proofs to expose this monstrous blasphemy? Is not this enough by 
itself to serve for a record against the adversary of Christ, who by the 
arguments cited maintains that the Word, Who in the beginning was God, 
is not God? What need is there to engage further with such men as this? 
For we do not entangle ourselves in controversy with those who busy 
themselves with idols and with the blood that is shed upon their altars, not 
that we acquiesce in the destruction of those who are besotted about idols, 
but because their disease is too strong for our treatment. Thus, just as the 
fact itself declares idolatry, and the evil that men do boldly and arrogantly 
anticipates the reproach of those who accuse it, so here too I think that the 
advocates of orthodoxy should keep silence towards one who openly 
proclaims his impiety to his own discredit, just as medicine also stands 
powerless in the case of a cancerous complaint, because the disease is too 
strong for the art to deal with. 

3. Thereafter he discusses the divergence of names and of things, speaking, of that 

which is ungenerate as without a cause, and of that which is non-existent, as the 

Scindapsus, Minotaur, Blityri, Cyclops, Scylla, which never were generated at all, 

and shows that things which are essentially different, are mutually destructive, as 

fire of water, and the rest in their several relations. But in the case of the Father 

and the Son, as essence is common, and the properties reciprocally 

interchangeable, no injury results to the Nature. 



386 



Since, however, after the passage cited above, he professes that he will 
allege something stronger still, let us examine this also, as well as the 
passage cited, lest we should seem to be withdrawing our opposition in 
face of an overwhelming force. "If, however," he says, "I am to abandon 
all these positions, and fall back upon my stronger argument, I would say 
this, that even if all the terms that he advances by way of refutation were 
established, our statement will none the less be manifestly shown to be 
true. If, as will be admitted, the divergence of the names which are 
significant of properties marks the divergence of the things, it is surely 
necessary to allow that with the divergence of the names significant of 
essence is also marked the divergence of the essences. And this would be 
found to hold good in all cases, I mean in the case of essences, energies, 
colors, figures, and other qualities. For we denote by diver gent 
appellations the different essences, fire and water, air and earth, cold and 
heat, white and black, triangle and circle. Why need we mention the 
intelligible essences, in enumerating which the Apostle marks, by 
difference of names, the divergence of essence?" 

Who would not be dismayed at this irresistible power of attack? The 
argument transcends the promise, the experience is more terrible than the 
threat. "I will come," he says, "to my stronger argument." What is it? That 
as the differences of properties are recognized by those names which 
signify the special attributes, we must of course, he says, allow that 
differences of essence are also expressed by divergence of names. What 
then are these appellations of essences by which we learn the divergence 
of Nature between the Father and the son? He talks of fire and water, air 
and earth, cold and heat, white and black, triangle and circle. His 
illustrations have won him the day: his argument carries all before it: I 
cannot contradict the statement that those names which are entirely 
incommunicable indicate difference of natures. But our man of keen and 
quick-sighted intellect has just missed seeing these points: — that in this 
case the Father is God and the Son is God; that "just," and 
"incorruptible," and all those names which belong to the Divine Nature, 
are used equally of the Father and of the Son; and thus, if the divergent 
character of appellations indicates difference of natures, the community of 
names will surely show the common character of the essence. And if we 



387 

must agree that the Divine essence is to be expressed by names, it would 
behoove us to apply to that Nature these lofty and Divine names rather 
than the terminology of "generate" and "ungenerate," because "good" and 
"incorruptible," "just" and "wise," and all such terms as these are strictly 
applicable only to that Nature which passes all understanding, whereas 
"generated" exhibits community of name with even the inferior forms of 
the lower creation. For we call a dog, and a frog, and all things that come 
into the world by way of generation, "generated." And moreover, the term 
"ungenerate" is not only employed of that which exists without a cause, 
but has also a proper application to that which is nonexistent. The 
Scindapsus is called ungenerate, the Blityri is ungenerate, the Minotaur is 
ungenerate, the Cyclops, Scylla, the Chimaera are ungenerate, not in the 
sense of existing without generation, but in the sense of never having come 
into being at all. If, then, the names more peculiarly Divine are common to 
the Son with the Father, and if it is the others, those which are equivocally 
employed either of the non-existent or of the lower animals — if it is 
these, I say, which are divergent, let his "generate and ungenerate" be so: 
Eunomius' powerful argument against us itself upholds the cause of truth 
in testifying that there is no divergence in respect of nature, because no 
divergence can be perceived in the names. But if he asserts the difference 
of essence to exist between the "generate" and the "ungenerate," as it does 
between fire and water, and is of opinion that the names, like those which 
he has mentioned in his examples, are in the same mutual relation as "fire" 
and "water," the horrid character of his blasphemy will here again be 
brought to light, even if we hold our peace. For fire and water have a 
nature mutually destructive, and each is destroyed, if it comes to be in the 
other, by the prevalence of the more powerful element. If, then, he lays 
down the doctrine that the Nature of the Ungenerate differs thus from that 
of the Only -begotten, it is surely clear that he logically makes this 
destructive opposition to be involved in the divergence of their essences, 
so that their nature will be, by this reasoning, incompatible and 
incommunicable, and the one would be consumed by the other, if both 
should be found to be mutually inclusive or co-existent. 

How then is the Son "in the Father" without being destroyed, and how 
does the Father, coming to be "in the Son," remain continually 
unconsumed, if, as Eunomius says, the special attribute of fire, as 



388 

compared with water, is maintained in the relation of the Generate to the 
Ungenerate? Nor does their definition regard communion as existing 
between earth and air, for the former is stable, solid, resistant, of 
downward tendency and heavy, while air has a nature made up of the 
contrary attributes. So white and black are found in opposition among 
colors, and men are agreed that the circle is not the same with the triangle, 
for each, according to the definition of its figure, is precisely that which 
the other is not. But I am unable to discover where he sees the opposition 
in the case of God the Father and God the Only-begotten Son. One 
goodness, wisdom, justice, providence, power, incorruptibility, — all 
other attributes of exalted significance are similarly predicated of each, and 
the one has in a certain sense His strength in the other; for on the one hand 
the Father makes all things through the Son, and on the other hand the 
Only -begotten works all in Himself, being the Power of the Father. Of 
what avail, then, are fire and water to show essential diversity in the 
Father and the Son? He calls us, moreover, "rash" for instancing the unity 
of nature and difference of persons of Peter and Paul, and says we are 
guilty of gross recklessness, if we apply our argument to the 
contemplation of the objects of pure reason by the aid of material 
examples. Fitly, fitly indeed, does the corrector of our errors reprove us 
for rashness in interpreting the Divine Nature by material illustrations! 
Why then, deliberate and circumspect sir, do you talk about the elements? 
Is earth immaterial, fire an object of pure reason, water incorporeal, air 
beyond the perception of the senses? Is your mind so well directed to its 
aim, are you so keen- sighted in all directions in your promulgation of this 
argument, that your adversaries cannot lay hold of, that you do not see in 
yourself the faults you blame in those you are accusing? Or are we to 
make concessions to you when you are establishing the diversity of 
essence by material aid, and to be ourselves rejected when we point out 
the kindred character of the Nature by means of examples within our 
compass? 

4. He says that all things that are in creation have been named by man, if as is the 

case, they are called differently by every nation, as also the appellation of 

"Ungenerate" is conferred by us: but that the proper appellation of the Divine 

essence itself which expresses the Divine Nature, either does not exist at all, or is 

unknown to us. 



389 

But Peter and Paul, he says, were named by men, and hence it comes that 
it is possible in their case to change the appellations. Why, what existing 
thing has not been named by men? I call you to testify on behalf of my 
argument. For if you make change of names a sign of things having been 
named by men, you will thereby surely allow that every name has been 
imposed upon things by us, since the same appellations of objects have 
not obtained universally. For as in the case of Paul who was once Saul, and 
of Peter who was formerly Simon, so earth and sky and air and sea and all 
the parts of the creation have not been named alike by all, but are named in 
one way by the Hebrews, and in another way by us, and are denoted by 
every nation by different names. If then Eunomius' argument is valid when 
he maintains that it was for this reason, to wit, that their names had been 
imposed by men, that Peter and Paul were named afresh, our teaching will 
surely be valid also, starting as it does from like premises, which says that 
all things are named by us, on the ground that their appellations vary 
according to the distinctions of nations. Now if all things are so, surely the 
Generate and the Ungenerate are not exceptions, for even they are among 
the things that change their name. For when we gather, as it were, into the 
form of a name the conception of any subject that arises in us, we declare 
our concept by words that vary at different times, not making, but 
signifying, the thing by the name we give it. For the things remain in 
themselves as they naturally are, while the mind, touching on existing 
things, reveals its thought by such words as are available. And just as the 
essence of Peter was not changed with the change of his name, so neither is 
any other of the things we contemplate changed in the process of mutation 
of names. And for this reason we say that the term "Ungenerate" was 
applied by us to the true and first Father Who is the Cause of all, and that 
no harm would result as regards the signifying of the Subject, if we were to 
acknowledge the same concept under another name. For it is allowable 
instead of speaking of Him as "Ungenerate," to call Him the "First Cause" 
or "Father of the Only -begotten," or to speak of Him as "existing without 
cause," and many such appellations which lead to the same thought; so 
that Eunomius confirms our doctrines by the very arguments in which he 
makes complaint against us, because we know no name significant of the 
Divine Nature. We are taught the fact of Its existence, while we assert that 
an appellation of such force as to include the unspeakable and infinite 
Nature, either does not exist at all, or at any rate is unknown to us. Let 



390 

him then leave his accustomed language of fable, and show us the names 
which signify the essences, and then proceed further to divide the subject 
by the divergence of their names. But so long as the saying of the Scripture 
is true that Abraham and Moses were not capable of the knowledge of the 
Name, and that "no man hath seen God at any time," and that "no man 
hath seen Him, nor can see," and that the light around Him is 
unapproachable, and "there is no end of His greatness"; — so long as we 
say and believe these things, how like is an argument that promises any 
comprehension and expression of the infinite Nature, by means of the 
significance of names; to one who thinks that he can enclose the whole sea 
in his own hand! for as the hollow of one's hand is to the whole deep, so 
is all the power of language in comparison with that Nature which is 
unspeakable and incomprehensible. 

5. After much discourse concerning the actually existent, and ungenerate and 

good, and upon the consubstantiality of the heavenly powers, showing the 

uncharted character of their essence, yet the difference of their ranks he ends the 

book. 

Now in saying these things we do not intend to deny that the Father exists 
without generation, and we have no intention of refusing to agree to the 
statement that the Only-begotten God is generated; — on the contrary the 
latter has been generated, the former has not been generated. But what He 
is, in His own Nature, Who exists apart from generation, and what He is, 
Who is believed to have been generated, we do not learn from the 
signification of "having been generated," and "not having been generated." 
For when we say "this person was generated" (or "was not generated"), 
we are impressed with a two-fold thought, having our eyes turned to the 
subject by the demonstrative part of the phrase, and learning that which is 
contemplated in the subject by the words "was generated" or "was not 
generated," — as it is one thing to think of that which is, and another to 
think of what we contemplate in that which is. But, moreover, the word 
"is" is surely understood with every name that is used concerning the 
Divine Nature, — as "just," "incorruptible," "immortal," and 
"ungenerate," and whatever else is said of Him; even if this word does not 
happen to occur in the phrase, yet the thought both of the speaker and the 
hearer surely makes the name attach to "is," so that if this word were not 
added, the appellation would be uttered in vain. For instance (for it is 



391 

better to present an argument by way of illustration), when David says, 
"God, a righteous judge, strong and patient," if "is" were not understood 
with each of the epithets included in the phrase, the enumerations of the 
appellations will seem purposeless and unreal, not having any subject to 
rest upon; but when "is" is understood with each of the names, what is 
said will clearly be of force, being contemplated in reference to that which 
is. As, then, when we say "He is a judge," we conceive concerning Him 
some operation of judgment, and by the "is" carry our minds to the 
subject, and are hereby clearly taught not to suppose that the account of 
His being is the same with the action, so also as a result of saying, "He is 
generated (or ungenerate)," we divide our thought into a double 
conception, by "is" understanding the subject, and by "generated," or 
"ungenerate," apprehending that which belongs to the subject. As, then, 
when we are taught by David that God is "a judge," or "patient," we do 
not learn the Divine essence, but one of the attributes which are 
contemplated in it, so in this case too when we hear of His being not 
generated, we do not by this negative predication understand the subject, 
but are guided as to what we must not think concerning the subject, while 
what He essentially is remains as much as ever unexplained. So too, when 
Holy Scripture predicates the other Divine names of Him Who is, and 
delivers to Moses the Being without a name, it is for him who discloses 
the Nature of that Being, not to rehearse the attributes of the Being, but by 
his words to make manifest to us its actual Nature. For every name which 
you may use is an attribute of the Being, but is not the Being, — "good," 
"ungenerate," "incorruptible," — but to each of these "is" does not fail to 
be supplied. Any one, then, who undertakes to give the account of this 
good Being, of this ungenerate Being, as He is, would speak in vain, if he 
rehearsed the attributes contemplated in Him, and were silent as to that 
essence which he undertakes by his words to explain. To be without 
generation is one of the attributes contemplated in the Being, but the 
definition of "Being" is one thing, and that of "being in some particular 
way" is another; and this has so far remained untold and unexplained by 
the passages cited. Let him then first disclose to us the names of the 
essence, and then divide the Nature by the divergence of the appellations; 
— so long as what we require remains unexplained, it is in vain that he 
employs his scientific skill upon names, seeing that the names have no 
separate existence. 



392 

Such then is Eunomius' stronger handle against the truth, while we pass 
by in silence many views which are to be found in this part of his 
composition; for it seems to me right that those who run in this armed race 
against the enemies of the truth should arm themselves against those who 
are fairly fenced about with the plausibility of falsehood, and not defile 
their argument with such conceptions as are already dead and of offensive 
odor. His supposition that whatever things are united in the idea of their 
essence must needs exist corporeally and be joined to corruption (for this 
he says in this part of his work), I shall willingly pass by like some 
cadaverous odor, since I think every reasonable man will perceive how 
dead and corrupt such an argument is. For who knows not that the 
multitude of human souls is countless, yet one essence underlies them all, 
and the consubstantial substratum in them is alien from bodily corruption? 
so that even children can plainly see the argument that bodies are 
corrupted and dissolved, not because they have the same essence one with 
another, but because of their possessing a compound nature. The idea of 
the compound nature is one, that of the common nature of their essence is 
another, so that it is true to say, "corruptible bodies are of one essence," 
but the converse statement is not true at all, if it be anything like, "this 
consubstantial nature is also surely corruptible," as is shown in the case of 
the souls which have one essence, while yet corruption does not attach to 
them in virtue of the community of essence. And the account given of the 
souls might properly be applied to every intellectual existence which we 
contemplate in creation. For the words brought together by Paul do not 
signify, as Eunomius will have them do, some mutually divergent natures 
of the supra-mundane powers; on the contrary, the sense of the names 
clearly indicates that he is mentioning in his argument, not diversities of 
natures, but the varied peculiarities of the operations of the heavenly host: 
for there are, he says, "principalities," and "thrones," and "powers," and 
"mights," and "dominions." Now these names are such as to make it at 
once clear to every one that their significance is arranged in regard to some 
operation. For to rule, and to exercise power and dominion, and to be the 
throne of some one, — all these conceptions would not be held by any one 
versed in argument to apply to diversities of essence, since it is clearly 
operation that is signified by every one of the names: so that any one who 
says that diversities of nature are signified by the names rehearsed by Paul 
deceives himself, "understanding," as the Apostle says, "neither what he 



393 



says, nor whereof he affirms," since the sense of the names clearly shows 
that the Apostle recognizes in the intelligible powers distinctions of 
certain ranks, but does not by these names indicate varieties of essences. 



394 



BOOK VIII 



1. The eighth book very notably overthrows the blasphemy of the heretics who say 
that the Only-begotten came from nothing, and that there wits a time when He was 
not, and shows the Son to be no new being, but from everlasting, from His having 
said to Moses, "I am He that is," and to Manoah, "Why askest thou My name? it 
also is wonderful"; — moreover David also says to God, "Thou art the same, and 
Thy years shall not fail;" and furthermore Isaiah says, "I am God, the first, and 
hereafter am I:" and the Evangelist, "He was in the beginning, and was with God, 
and was God:" — and that He has neither beginning nor end: and he thrones 
that those who say that He is new and comes front nothing are idolaters. And 
herein he very finely interprets "the brightness of the glory, and the express image 

of the Person." 

These, then, are the strong points of Eunomius' case; and I think that 
when those which promised to be powerful are proved by argument to be 
so rotten and unsubstantial, I may well keep silence concerning the rest, 
since the others are practically refuted, concurrently with the refutation of 
the stronger ones; just as it happens in warlike operations that when a 
force more powerful than the rest has been beaten, the remainder of the 
army are no longer of any account in the eyes of those by whom the 
strong portion of it has been overcome. But the fact that the chief part of 
his blasphemy lies in the later part of his discourse forbids me to be silent. 
For the transition of the Only-begotten from nothing into being, that 
horrid and godless doctrine of Eunomius, which is more to be shunned 
than all impiety, is next maintained in the order of his argument. And since 
every one who has been bewitched by this deceit has the phrase, "If He 
was, He has not been begotten, and if He has been begotten, He was not," 
ready upon his tongue for the maintenance of the doctrine that He Who 
made of nothing us and all the creation is Himself from nothing, and since 
the deceit obtains much support thereby, as men of feebler mind are 
pressed by this superficial bit of plausibility, and led to acquiesce in the 
blasphemy, we must needs not pass by this doctrinal "root of bitterness," 
lest, as the Apostle says, it "spring up and trouble us" Now I say that we 
must first of all consider the actual argument itself, apart from our contest 
with our opponents, and thus afterwards proceed to the examination and 
refutation of what they have set forth. 



395 

One mark of the true Godhead is indicated by the words of Holy 
Scripture, which Moses learnt by the voice from heaven, when He heard 
Him Who said, "I am He that is." We think it right, then, to believe that to 
be alone truly Divine which is represented as eternal and infinite in respect 
of being; and all that is contemplated therein is always the same, neither 
growing nor being consumed; so that if one should say of God, that 
formerly He was, but now is not, or that He now is, but formerly was not, 
we should consider each of the savings alike to be godless: for by both 
alike the idea of eternity is mutilated, being cut short on one side or the 
other by non-existence, whether one contemplates "nothing" as preceding 
"being," or declares that "being" ends in "nothing"; and the frequent 
repetition of "first of all" or "last of all" concerning God's non-existence 
does not make amends for the impious conception touching the Divinity. 
For this reason we declare the maintenance of their doctrine as to the 
non-existence at some time of Him Who truly is, to be a denial and 
rejection of His true Godhead; and this on the ground that, on the one 
hand, He Who showed Himself to Moses by the light speaks of Himself 
as being, when He says, "I am He that is," while on the other, Isaiah (being 
made, so to say, the instrument of Him Who spoke in him) says in the 
person of Him that is, "I am the first, and hereafter am I," so that hereby, 
whichever way we consider it, we conceive eternity in God. And so, too, 
the word that was spoken to Manoah shows the fact that the Divinity is 
not comprehensible by the significance of His name, because, when 
Manoah asks to know His name, that, when the promise has come 
actually to pass, he may by name glorify his benefactor, He says to him, 
"Why askest thou this? It also is wonderful"; so that by this we learn that 
there is one name significant of the Divine Nature — the wonder, namely, 
that arises unspeakably in our hearts concerning It. So, too, great David, in 
his discourses with himself, proclaims the same truth, in the sense that all 
the creation was brought into being by God, while He alone exists always 
in the same manner, and abides for ever, where he says, "But Thou art the 
same, and Thy years shall not fail." When we hear these sayings, and 
others like them, from men inspired by God, let us leave all that is not 
from eternity to the worship of idolaters, as a new thing alien from the 
true Godhead. For that which now is, and formerly was not, is clearly new 
and not eternal, and to have regard to any new object of worship is called 
by Moses the service of demons, when he says, "They sacrificed to devils 



396 

and not to God, to gods whom their fathers knew not; new gods were they 
that came newly up." If then everything that is new in worship is a service 
of demons, and is alien from the true Godhead, and if what is now, but 
was not always, is new and not eternal, we who have regard to that which 
is, necessarily reckon those who contemplate non-existence as attaching to 
Him Who is, and who say that "He once was not," among the 
worshippers of idols. For we may also see that the great John, when 
declaring in his own preaching the Only-begotten God, guards his own 
statement in every way, so that the conception of non-existence shall find 
no access to Him Who is. For he says that He "was in the beginning," and 
"was with God," and "was God," and was light, and life, and truth, and all 
good things at all times, and never at any time failed to be anything that is 
excellent, Who is the fullness of all good, and is in the bosom of the Father. 
If then Moses lays down as a law for us some such mark of true Godhead 
as this, that we know nothing else of God but this one thing, that He is 
(for to this point the words, "I am He that is"); while Isaiah in his 
preaching declares aloud the absolute infinity of Him Who is, defining the 
existence of God as having no regard to beginning or to end (for He Who 
says "I am the first, and hereafter am I," places no limit to His eternity in 
either direction, so that neither, if we look to the beginning, do we find any 
point marked since which He is, and beyond which He was not, nor, if 'we 
turn our thought to the future, can we cut short by any boundary the 
eternal progress of Him Who is), — and if the prophet David forbids us to 
worship any new and strange God (both of which are involved in the 
heretical doctrine; "newness" is clearly indicated in that which is not 
eternal, and "strangeness" is alienation from the Nature of the very God), 
— if, I say, these things are so, we declare all the sophistical fabrication 
about the non-existence at some time of Him Who truly is, to be nothing 
else than a departure from Christianity, and a turning to idolatry. For 
when the Evangelist, in his discourse concerning the Nature of God, 
separates at all points non-existence from Him Who is, and, by his 
constant repetition of the word "was," carefully destroys the suspicion of 
non-existence, and calls Him the Only -begotten God, the Word of God, 
the Son of God, equal with God, and all such names, we have this 
judgment fixed and settled in us, that if the Only-begotten Son is God, we 
must believe that He Who is believed to be God is eternal. And indeed He 
is verily God, and assuredly is eternal, and is never at any time found to be 



397 

non-existent. For God, as we have often said, if He now is, also assuredly 
always was, and if He once was not, neither does He now exist at all. But 
since even the enemies of the truth confess that the Son is and continually 
abides the Only-begotten God, we say this, that, being in the Father, He is 
not in Him in one respect only, but He is in Him altogether, in respect of 
all that the Father is conceived to be. As, then, being in the incorruptibility 
of the Father, He is incorruptible, good in His goodness, powerful in His 
might, and, as being in each of these attributes of special excellence which 
are conceived of the Father, He is that particular thing, so, also, being in 
His eternity, He is assuredly eternal. Now the eternity of the Father is 
marked by His never having taken His being from nonexistence, and never 
terminating His being in non-existence. He, therefore, Who hath all things 
that are the Father' s, and is contemplated in all the glory of the Father, 
even as, being in the endlessness of the Father, He has no end, so, being in 
the unoriginateness of the Father, has, as the Apostle says, "no beginning 
of days," but at once is "of the Father," and is regarded in the eternity of 
the Father and in this respect, more especially, is seen the complete 
absence of divergence in the Likeness, as compared with Him Whose 
Likeness He is. And herein is His saying found true which tells us, "He 
that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Moreover, it is in this way that 
those words of the Apostle, that the Son is "the brightness of His glory, 
and the express image of His Person," are best understood to have an 
excellent and close application. For the Apostle conveys to those hearers 
who are unable, by the contemplation of purely intellectual objects, to 
elevate their thought to the height of the knowledge of God, a sort of 
notion of the truth, by means of things apparent to sense. For as the body 
of the sun is expressly imaged by the whole disc that surrounds it, and he 
who looks on the sun argues, by means of what he sees, the existence of 
the whole solid substratum, so, he says, the majesty of the Father is 
expressly imaged in the greatness of the power of the Son, that the one 
may be believed to be as great as the other is known to be: and again, as 
the radiance of light sheds its brilliancy from the whole of the sun's disc 
(for in the disc one part is not radiant, and the rest dim), so all that glory 
which the Father is, sheds its brilliancy from its whole extent by means of 
the brightness that comes from it, that is, by the true Light; and as the ray 
is of the sun (for there would be no ray if the sun were not), yet the sun is 
never conceived as existing by itself without the ray of brightness that is 



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shed from it, so the Apostle delivering to us the continuity and eternity of 
that existence which the Only-begotten has of the Father, calls the Son 
"the brightness of His glory." 

2. He then discusses the "willing" of the Father concerning the generation of the 

Son, and shows that the object of that good will is from eternity, which is the Son, 

existing in the father, and being closely related to the process of willing, as the ray 

to the flame, or the act of seeing to the eye. 

After these distinctions on our part no one can well be longer in doubt 
how the Only-begotten at once is believed to be "of the